Garcia: It takes a village
The absence of community involvement in the upbringing of our youth has been cited as one of the major reasons for the prevalence of young persons involvement in crime and gang activities. The recent killing of a 15-year-old student brought to the fore the importance of the initiatives being undertaken by the Ministry of Education, and also underscores the importance of all stakeholders taking responsibility.
The high prevalence of incidents involving school-aged youth, reiterated the need for the Ministry to ensure there is a firm grasp on discipline in schools. The Ministry continues to use School Based Management to engage all stakeholders of the school community to develop discipline plans which are specific to each school environment and the individual. However, the Ministry recognises that plans are ineffective without proper monitoring and evaluation, therefore, it has ensured that staff are in place to facilitate the proper execution of this initiative.
The Ministry sympathises with all of the families that have lost loved ones to crime and violence. It has enforced a zero tolerance approach to indiscipline in schools which is designed to mitigate these incidents. Moreover, the Ministry has put in place a system that removes students who have repeatedly been reported as having behavioural issues. In these instances, the intervention through Learning Enhancement Centres is utilised to counsel and rehabilitate students before they are reintroduced to their classrooms; an assessment must also be completed.
As the increase in indiscipline in youth move out of schools and is now prevalent in the community, Minister of Education Anthony Garcia has urged parents and the national community to “be your brother’s keeper.
“We must return to the days of a village raising a child as it is this newfound hands off approach that has led to the significant breakdown of the development of our youth. We must each do our part to protect our young people and we must not be afraid to speak out when we see them doing wrong.”
The Ministry of Education affirms its commitment to ensuring the nation’s schools are safe spaces. It will continue to use programmes such as School Based Management, Parenting in Education and collaborative efforts with other education interest groups, to reduce these instances of youth-related crime, violence and deaths.