JIS News

The Ministry of Education is working to implement a Behaviour Modification Programme to address the challenges of anti-social behaviour by students in some educational institutions.

This was outlined in a Ministry paper tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, May 15, by portfolio Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites.

Among the methods of intervention to be pursued is the engagement of a broad-based team consisting of representatives from the public and private sectors to design new strategies to deal with disruptive behaviours.

The paper outlined that meetings have already been held with the ecumenical church group, where useful recommendations have been put forward. Additionally, a targeted training programme for deans of discipline, selected principals and guidance counsellors will be designed and implemented by the Jamaica Theological Seminary in schools this month.

The Ministry will also seek to engage with the media to reinforce more positive principles through popular culture.

The Ministry Paper noted that while indiscipline in the island’s schools remains a real concern, the Ministry’s intervention programmes have yielded significant results over the years, with disruptive students being rehabilitated in over 99 per cent of cases.

“The frequent isolated incidents, however, that have been affecting the system, now require further interventions,” the document said.

It also informed that other strategic measures to be implemented include the development of an Early Detection Support and Intervention (EDSI) System, where teachers and guidance counsellors will be trained to recognise important signs and to take the related action. Early detection will be promptly followed up with support and intervention.

The Ministry is also proposing the implementation of a Student Support Network (SSN), which aims to provide psycho-social services for students.

Under the initiative, psychologists will be engaged in each of the six education regions to attend to students, who are referred to the SSN under the Programme for Alternative Student Support (PASS).

The SSN will also have a mechanism that seeks to mitigate acts of violence. This means that students, who feel threatened or unsafe, will be able to use Information Communication Technologies (ICT), from wherever they are, to get help.

To facilitate this process, there will be the restoration of the toll-free helpline; the launch of a website with links to social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, and the use of text messaging.

A school-wide Behaviour Management System will also be developed and implemented in each school, with technical support from Guidance and Counselling Education Officers and territorial education officers. It will also include a school support team, consisting of school personnel, parents, representatives from the community, private sector, and state departments.

Contact: Athaliah Reynolds-Baker