JIS News

An appropriate location has been identified in the parish of St. Elizabeth to set up a residential institution to accommodate disorderly and disruptive students.
Minister of Education, Andrew Holness, who made the announcement while addressing teachers at the Spot Valley High School in St. James on Tuesday, (Feb. 17), said that the facility should be up and running by the start of the 2009/2010 academic year.
The move to establish a residential facility is part of the Ministry’s Adjustment and Social Interaction programme, to deal with the problem of disruptive students in schools. There is also a Programme for Alternative Student Support (PASS), “which deals with your lower level problems,” Minister Holness informed.
Under the Adjustment and Social Interaction initiative, the aim is to remove the problematic student from the school environment thereby “freeing up the teaching resources,” he pointed out.
The Minister stated that while residential programmes of this nature were expensive, it was generally agreed that “disruptive students have crippled the education system, and that it is now time that the government devise a policy to provide an alternate education system for these students”.
He informed that in the first instance, approximately 50 students would be accommodated at the St. Elizabeth institution, with plans to increase the number to 1,000 when the programme was fully rolled out, with a full curriculum and appropriate personnel in place.
The Education Minister’s announcement came against the background of a recent incident at the Spot Valley High School, during which three teachers were injured and had to be hospitalized.
Minister Holness, who was accompanied by several officials from the Ministry, said he was saddened by the incident and extended an offer of assistance to the injured teachers.
He expressed concern about the growing trend of attacks against teachers in educational institutions and assured that the Ministry would take action to support professionals in the system. He noted that a safety and security manual has been issued to schools across the island.

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