- There has been a steady decline in the levels of violence and critical incidents in schools over the past three years.
- Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, made the disclosure during the sitting of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, July 14.
- He informed that the total number of incidents recorded in high schools in 2014 is less than three per cent of the figure for 2012.
There has been a steady decline in the levels of violence and critical incidents in schools over the past three years.
Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, made the disclosure during the sitting of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, July 14.
He informed that the total number of incidents recorded in high schools in 2014 is less than three per cent of the figure for 2012.
Data collected by the Community Safety and Security Branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) indicate that robberies dropped by 83 per cent; thefts, 60 per cent; wounding, 52 per cent; fights, 14 per cent; fatal stabbings, six per cent; while there was a 17 per cent decline in weapons found in school.
“However, last year (2014-2015) we saw an increase in the number of fights compared to the preceding year moving from 168 to 226. The total number of incidents in 2014/15 was 405 compared to 290 in 2013/14. JCF Area Five (St. Andrew North, St. Catherine North, St. Catherine South, and St. Thomas) had the largest number of offences, 428,” Rev. Thwaites said.
In terms of weapons seized, the total number has declined by more than two thirds over the three-year period from 1,670 weapons in 2012 to 495 in 2014.
The Education Minister informed that the Ministry is in the process of procuring 135 new metal detectors to ensure that all high/secondary schools have these in place for the new school year.
Meanwhile, Rev. Thwaites said the Security and Safety Guidelines, which are being revised, will be ready for September, and will, for the first time, feature areas such as bullying in schools including cyber-bullying.
“It will also address human trafficking, which has been incorporated in the Social Studies curriculum and will be taught in schools for the first time in September 2015. Sections of the Child Care and Protection Act will also be included,” he states.
He also noted that there will be continued promotion of student involvement in uniformed groups as one of the means to address behavioural problems.
There are over 600 uniform groups in schools, with 79 new groups established in the past year.
“The presence of these groups is significant in this regard in promoting positive values and attitudes of our students. Plans are in place to add another 105 new groups to schools that are operating without a uniform group,” Rev. Thwaites said.