JIS News

A total of 441 high school guidance counsellors have benefited from training in preparation for the Values and Attitudes Programme in Schools, which is scheduled to be implemented at the start of the 2007/08 academic year in September.
Director of the Technical High Schools Project, Loveda Jones, told JIS News that the training workshops were conducted from as early as August 2006 and another intensive session will be held this August for the remaining 153 counsellors, who were unable to attend the previous workshops.
“By the end of August, all the counsellors at the high school level would have gone through an orientation exercise on how to implement the programme,” she said. “We intend that come September, the counsellors will coordinate the activities in their schools and commence the implementation,” she stated.
The Values and Attitudes Programme in Schools was launched in November 2005 by Education Minister, Maxine Henry Wilson and she has mandated that the programme be implemented in all the island’s secondary schools. The initiative is already in place in 14 technical high schools across the island including St. Andrew, Holmwood, and St. Elizabeth Technical.
Ms. Jones informed that the programme is targeted at principals, teachers, guidance counsellors, parents, guardians and staff and students, and is designed to assist persons to develop, demonstrate and embrace certain core values in their daily lives. She identified these values as: “respect for self, for others, life, property, the environment, law and order.”
Also included are honesty, kindness, love, justice, forgiveness, teamwork, and a love for learning, creativity, innovation, accountability and quality.
Ms. Jones explained that the programme came about as a result of the “concern about the deterioration in the standards and behaviours in our society,” noting that, “there is not a commitment on the part of adults and younger persons to demonstrate appropriate behaviour. We want to bring back the society to one in which we show respect for others.a society in which we can feel comfortable.that they can contribute to national development.” “We hope to impact on the entire society,” she told JIS News, “to help bring back that calm, that peacefulness and that respect that we once had prevalence in our society.”
According to Ms. Jones, guidance counsellors were identified as being ideal in the implementation of the programme and working in collaboration with the Ministry’s Guidance and Counselling Unit, relevant training sessions were held to prepare them. These workshops were evaluated by all participants and “overall, there was a high level of satisfaction,” she informed.
In addition to the workshops, the Values and Attitudes Manual, ‘Valuable Pathways’ was also developed, as well as, a companion document with a few tips on how the counsellors may go about implementing the programme. There are three different modules of the manual, each targeting specific groups – parents and guardians, school staff and students.
Ms. Jones highlighted that students from various high schools were selected to review and improve the students’ manual and it is expected that by September 2007, these manuals will be readily available and accessible in all high schools.
Currently, the Values and Attitudes Planning Committee is assisting the guidance counsellors to design a detailed implementation plan, which will outline the activities that they will engage in, as well as, realistic timelines based on the orientation and training process. Also, Ms. Jones pointed out, “they (counsellors) will send in quarterly reports to the guidance officer at the regional level, so that this will serve as a monitoring mechanism on how they are doing and what further help they may need.”
So far, the Education Transformation Team in the Ministry has given a commitment to assist with part funding for the programme. Already, the team has made significant contributions to the production of the manuals and the hosting of the workshops. It is also expected that the Ministry will be partnering with other agencies to solicit the necessary funding for the programme.
In the meantime, Ms. Jones said that there is the vision to extend the Values and Attitudes Programme to the primary level and she will liaise with the guidance counsellors or teachers at that level to initiate training sessions in the next school semester.
“I strongly believe that this programme, well implemented, can make an impact on improved behaviours.demonstration of acceptable and positive attitudes and values in our society. It is our intention to work assiduously and to demonstrate the best standards that we can, in order for this programme to be effectively implemented in our schools, that we can see the fruits of our efforts,” Ms. Jones stated.

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