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Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, Maxine Henry-Wilson, has appealed to fathers to play more active roles in their children’s lives, as their presence was critical to the child’s development.
Speaking against the background of the prevalent absence of Jamaican fathers from the home, and the fact that 40 per cent of children had something negative to say about their father, the Minster said that, “we need to bring fathers into a conscious understanding to know that they are a part of child rearing and nation building.”
The Education Minister, who was giving the main address at a Parent Day session held on Wednesday (Nov. 30) at the Mico College Care Centre in Kingston, said that, “parenting does not require money, it takes interest”.
Continuing, she noted that the most successful children were raised by parents, who invested interest in their children’s welfare and “took the time”.
Mrs. Henry Wilson further called on parents, fathers and mothers alike, to ensure that they cared for their children, noting that, “the younger they are, the more impressionable, so make sure you are there for them.”
She lauded the Mico Care Centre for its work with special children and pointed to the need for similar institutions to be established across the island.
“We need more Mico Care Centres,” she said, adding that facilities that catered to the needs of children with special needs were important, particularly at the early childhood phase.
The Mico Care Centre was established by the government in 1980, to ensure the early detection of disabilities, which affect the development of children and prescribe corrective, instructional programmes to address the disabilities diagnosed. The Centre also runs a special programme for gifted and talented children.
The facility is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.