JIS News

From July 12 to 31, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will host a summer camp for young persons of West Kingston, who have been affected by the recent joint police/military operations in that area.
This was disclosed by Assistant Chief Education Officer in the Guidance and Counselling Unit of the Ministry of Education (MOE), Fern McFarlane during an interview with JIS News.
“The Ministry will be running a summer programme for the students who attend the schools in West Kingston and who were seriously or somewhat affected by the West Kingston crisis that we are getting out of. We are covering communities that include Tivoli Gardens, Denham Town, Fletcher’s Land and Hannah Town,” she noted, while pointing out that approximately 400 children are expected to participate.
“From the Ministry’s perspective, a total of 400 children between primary level and secondary level schools [will benefit] and this does not include the number that would be treated by the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), which will be looking at children zero to eight, while the Ministry will be looking at children aged nine to 18,” Mrs. McFarlane informed.
A special instrument has already been developed to determine the extent to which the children were affected.
“In terms of eligibility, an instrument was developed that helped us determine the extent to which the children were affected, because different children, based on their circumstances and other characteristics, are likely to respond in different ways,” she said.
According to the Assistant Chief Education Officer, the camp will be structured on two different levels, depending on the results of the assessment.
“We will have two level camps coming out of the findings of our assessment. For the children who are healing well on their own, we are going to be having play days, which will run for three weeks, Mondays to Fridays, then for the children who need special attention, we will have them in pullout camps, where they will be put in a programme which will have more psycho-social assistance from professionals,” she further explained.
“The camp will focus on: getting the children to express themselves freely, rehabilitative services, life skills and citizenship education activities and rebuilding patriotism,” the Assistant Chief Education Officer added.
In addition, at least 200 Counsellors have been trained with the assistance of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), to further assist the young persons, and a number of psychologists have also volunteered their services to the camp.
The Ministry’s summer camp forms part of the Critical Incident Management Alliance, which was recently established by the Guidance and Counselling Unit to respond to the West Kingston incident. Some of the agencies involved include the Child Development Agency (CDA), the Child Guidance Clinic of the Ministry of Health, Sistren Theatre Collective, Early Childhood Commission, Rise Life Management Services and UNICEF.

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