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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Deans of Discipline in schools across the island are being urged to lead the charge in restoring positive attitudes, values and behaviours among students.
  • This call came from Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, who stressed that antisocial behaviour in the nation’s schools is “an urgent problem,” that can be tackled directly by these individuals who are charged with enforcing discipline in schools.
  • The Minister was addressing the closing ceremony for the training of Deans of Discipline at the National Police College of Jamaica in Twickenham Park, St. Catherine, on April 1.

Deans of Discipline in schools across the island are being urged to lead the charge in restoring positive attitudes, values and behaviours among students.

This call came from Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, who stressed that antisocial behaviour in the nation’s schools is “an urgent problem,” that can be tackled directly by these individuals who are charged with enforcing discipline in schools.

“You need the support of Boards and Principals, but you have to be the ones to lead the drive for the restoration and enforcement of discipline in the schools,” Rev. Thwaites emphasised.

The Minister was addressing the closing ceremony for the training of Deans of Discipline at the National Police College of Jamaica in Twickenham Park, St. Catherine, on April 1.

Rev. Thwaites further pointed to the need for a programme of resocialisation in schools, given this behavioural problem which is “becoming endemic in the society (that is) not only cramping education, (but) demoralising.” He noted that approximately 20 to 25 per cent of instructional time is lost as a result of this issue.

He said this social intervention is now even more crucial given the tragic killing of a student at Barrett Town All-Age by another earlier this week.

“I use this opportunity, on behalf of the Ministry of Education, to again express sympathies to the relatives and classmates of the deceased student, Shaheim Lewis. The Ministry of Education continues to make available counselling services to relatives and the school community,” he said.

Rev. Thwaites commended the Deans for their dedication and commitment in carrying out their duties, despite the many challenges. He said the Ministry is aware of this and has undertaken a number of measures to strengthen the effectiveness of the Deans’ functions.

“To complement your role as well as to equip you, the Ministry has begun the implementation of new resocialisation initiatives under the SchoolWide Positive Behaviour Intervention Support (SWPBIS) programme,” he informed.

The Minister noted that these initiatives are targeting school leaders, teachers and students in order to promote harmonious social relations in the school environment.

In addition, the Ministry has deployed a social worker to each regional office and they will network with professionals from other Agencies/Ministries that relate to children and families.

A total of 109 Deans from schools islandwide completed one week of training under the Safe Schools Programme.

Director for Safety and Security in Schools at the Ministry, Sergeant Coleridge Minto, told JIS News that the training was developed in partnership with the Police College to build capacity of the Deans.

He informed that the training covered areas such as defence tactics, report writing, the safe school policy, how to conduct a safety and security audit in the schools and other areas that deal with behavioural problems.

Instituted in 2004, the Safe Schools Programme is geared towards tackling criminal and antisocial behaviour in schools.

It is a joint initiative of the Ministries of National Security, Health, Education and Youth and several non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and has been implemented in more than 170 schools islandwide.

Under the programme, specially trained members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), called school resource officers (SROs), are deployed to targeted schools across the island, where they work with students deemed at risk.

The SROs also partner with Deans of Discipline and other school administrators to promote and maintain discipline as well as mediate in disputes.