LONDON (Reuters) - Britain should reinstate school attendance payments as part of a range of measures to help reduce its huge government debt, the Paris-based OECD said on Thursday.
The scrapping of Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) payments in England last October prompted many pupils to join violent student demonstrations against higher university fees.
In its latest “Going for Growth” report, the OECD said that improving the educational achievement of young people could boost youth employment in Britain, propelling economic growth and helping it cut a record budget deficit.
The organisation called on the government to “encourage participation in secondary education by reintroducing the Education Maintenance Allowance,” among other recommendations.
The EMA programme gives 600,000 teenagers up to 30 pounds a week to encourage them to stay at school.
Education Secretary Michael Gove had said the 560 million pound a year scheme was wasteful, citing research showing that 90 percent of those receiving EMA payments would have carried on their education without it.
Students currently receiving EMA payments will continue to receive them till the end of the next academic year, although they will be at a reduced level for many.
The government said last month 180 million pounds of bursaries would replace EMA funding and would be available for the poorest students aged between 16 and 19 to pay for transport, food or equipment.
Reporting by Olesya Dmitracova; Editing by Steve Addison