Education Minister Endorses Behaviour Modification Camp


Minister of Education, Andrew Holness, has given the nod to a behaviour modification camp, being held for teens between 12 and 16 years of age, at the Glengoffe High School in rural St. Catherine.
Mr. Holness, following a presentation to the over 200 teens at the camp this week, told JIS News that he was comfortable with it. “From what I see here, I give it my full endorsement,” he told JIS News.
The two-week camp caters to mostly troubled teens from eight schools in the South St. Catherine Police Division, including Ascot High, Bridgeport High, Braeton Primary and Junior High, Cumberland High, Greater Portmore High, Jose Marti Technical High and Old Harbour High Schools.
Mr. Holness said the camp offers teens a unique opportunity to reflect and redesign themselves for a positive change. “That process of reflection oftentimes lead to self-confrontation and that is what is happening here. Students are confronting themselves and saying I want to change, I know my behaviour is bad, which is good, and that’s the start of change,” he said.
The Minister said his observation revealed that much of the behaviour problems centre around a resistance to order and authority, which he feels is “more cultural than environmental,” and so it was thought best to have the camp run with a Police/Military authoritarian type environment, to create the change before the social work can begin.
“These types of camps set higher expectations, but social workers have to maintain this programme. They have to be constantly in touch and be there when you get the teens to a point where they have confronted themselves and decided that they want to change,” he said.
Mr. Holness noted, however, that to get the social workers to reach the teens, a space has to be created first, where there is order and oftentimes it requires authority to bring order, hence the boot camp was a crucial vehicle.
The two week behaviour modification camp ends tomorrow (July 18).

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