Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Fayval Williams, says character education, which seeks to instil good moral values in students, is to be introduced as part of the public education curriculum.
“We will design, develop and implement the curriculum for character education and we will give it the same importance we give to literacy and numeracy,” she said, noting that there will be exams in the subject area.
Mrs. Williams was making her contribution to the 2021/22 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (April 28).
She said that character education will enhance the academics by teaching students diligence.
“Students will learn how to focus on their studies and have the drive to do well. Character education will teach students how to interact properly with their teachers and other students in and out of the classroom, and because our students spend quite some time in school, school is the perfect place to teach character education,” she pointed out.
Mrs. Williams argued that the public education system should not only produce students who are high academic achievers but are well-mannered individuals that respect other people.
She said students must be taught ethics, honesty, responsibility, accountability and good moral values that will make them upstanding citizens.
“We should be graduating students with robust moral compasses,” she noted.
“In educating our children about their character, we want to teach them about their rights and duties as citizens [and] what it means to be a Jamaican. We want to teach them about a culture of peace. We want to educate them about tolerance and the development of intra and inter-community social partnerships,” Mrs. Williams added.
The Education Minister cited research indicating that schools that have character education as part of their curriculum have fewer incidents of disciplinary referrals, suspensions, and truancy.
In addition, the positive environment that it fosters in schools, helps to increase attendance and bring about a significant improvement in the academic performance of students.
“What our children will learn from teaching them character education will be useful as they engage and interact with other people in society. For our students to become upstanding members of their communities, our students need to know the proper way to treat other people, and these are the things that they can learn and understand through character education,” she pointed out.
To support character education, Mrs. Williams informed that uniformed groups such as Cadets, Scouts, Red Cross, 4H Clubs, and Rangers, will be restored to prominence in schools.
“The Ministry recently conducted an audit of uniformed groups in schools to determine the areas of greatest need and the type of support that will be required. We currently have 635 uniformed groups in schools. They need to actually be in each of the 1,000 schools. Character education will be institutionalised in all our schools,” she said.