JIS News

Education Minister, Andrew Holness, is calling on the church community to strengthen the partnership with the Education sector, by donating lands for the construction of more schools.
“We want to continue the relationship; we want to broaden the partnership to bring in other church institutions. We have already started where the church will provide us with the land, and we will build on the land,” Mr. Holness told JIS News in an interview.
“I make an open appeal. If there are any churches that have land, that they would want to build a school on, we would be willing to partner with them through the National Education Trust Fund, when it is established, to establish the school within the context of the national plan, to eliminate the shift system and ensure that there is a space up to the secondary level for every Jamaican student,” he added.
He also said that the Church must be commended, regardless of the criticisms they might face from time to time.
“In many ways, the Church has been criticised as not playing the lead role in the values and attitudes campaign, in terms of getting the soft skills needed for our young people to articulate in society. In some instances, it’s unfair, in some instances, it’s fair. But the Church must be commended, they have been with us very long, and we generally find that schools that are Church based institutions, tend to do very well, and tend to have a higher level of discipline,” the Minister argued.
In the meantime, he is urging members of the media to hold the Education sector accountable, and disseminate the messages to the public.
“One would want the media to hold the education sector accountable, particularly for performance, but we definitely need the media to assist us in carrying the messages. Our messages are not sensational, they may not make the headlines, and so they might not be news value; but they are important messages,” Mr. Holness said.
He added that the media, like parents and teachers, must filter information that children receive, and put it in context.
“Jamaica is very far advanced in the information age.but with the opening of the floodgates of information, there has been a breakdown with the institutions that filter and place, in context, the information that comes. My argument is not against exposure, I am not saying that students ought not to be exposed to the widest scope of information, but there must be a process of contextualising and filtering,” he told JIS News.
“We need the media to understand that we are not asking for censorship, but that the media should be responsible in the information that it places for access by our children,” the Minister said.
In the meantime, Mr. Holness is cautioning media practitioners, that the necessary laws would be enforced to protect the children from being recorded.
“We need the media to understand that the school is not an open institution, where they can run in with their cameras and tapes and take pictures of the children. There are legislations in place that prohibit certain actions of the media, as they relate to children, and we intend to have those legislations enforced. We have already said to the schools that they have to put in a policy for how the media access the school to get information,” he said.
The Church and the media are two of the many partners being targeted, through the Back to School theme: ‘Education is a Partnership’.