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  • Strengthening parenting skills, particularly at the foundational level, will be a major area of focus for newly appointed Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid.
  • Senator Reid told JIS News that lack of proper parenting has been identified as part of the foundational weaknesses that have resulted in the inadequate performance of many students.
  • “Whether it is Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) examination technique, general parent awareness – we are going to use that media very aggressively to get the message across,” he informed.

Strengthening parenting skills, particularly at the foundational level, will be a major area of focus for newly appointed Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid.

This, he said, is in order to ensure that students are socially and mentally prepared for the formal education system.

“Our objective is that we get the parenting right and so parents understand how to be responsible in terms of having children, taking care of them, nurturing them and so that they are properly prepared for formal education,” the Minister said.

He was speaking with JIS News yesterday (March 8) following a full day of meetings with Ministry officials at his Heroes Circle offices in Kingston.

This was the Minister’s first official day in office after being sworn in at the ceremony at King’s House on March 7.

Senator Reid told JIS News that lack of proper parenting has been identified as part of the foundational weaknesses that have resulted in the inadequate performance of many students.

“So, it’s not just a problem with teachers; it has to do with the foundation, because if you have children, who come to us at age six, seven, eight and they already have had stymied mental development due to external factors, such as parents smoking around them, alcohol use, inadequate nutrition and all those environmental factors – those are going to impair the student’s ability to do well in school,” he argued.

“We will be spending a lot of money trying to rehabilitate a problem that frankly is going to be very difficult to solve after that,” he noted.

Senator Reid said he is of the opinion that if the problem is tackled at its core, “then we’ll have better performance in the system.”

“We have got to say to the nation, if we want greater output from the education system, we have to make sure we have our children much better prepared and brought up in their earlier stages,” he contended.

Senator Reid said the plan is to leverage the information portfolio of the Ministry through the utilisation of the JIS and the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ) to disseminate information on proper parenting techniques and other relevant matters.

“Whether it is Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) examination technique, general parent awareness – we are going to use that media very aggressively to get the message across,” he informed.

“In addition, the negative kind of socialisation that is out there…, we can counter with that; and overall, we need to communicate effectively with the population in terms of what the Ministry is doing and what the rest of the Government is doing as a whole,” he said.