JIS News

The Ministry of Education is working in conjunction with the Jamaica Library Service (JLS), to establish a number of satellite centres on parenting in the parish libraries islandwide.
This was announced by Senior Adviser/Consultant to the Minister of Education, Dr. Rebecca Tortello, in an interview with JIS News on August 24.
“The Library Service is going to work with us to create information network/satellite information centres on parenting, so that we will gather parenting material locally, and international best practices. The parish libraries are linked and they have internet access, so we can have an electronic database as well as a hardcopy database and the librarians will be trained to know where the material is, so parents can come in and find material if they need it,” she informed.
While not giving a specific timeline for these centres to be implemented, Dr. Tortello explained that the partnership with the JLS is part of the soon to be established National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC).
“We are hoping that by November, which is Parent Month, the NPSC will be implemented. The Bill is now at the Chief Parliamentary Counsel and the National Parenting Policy is before Cabinet, so both of those will have to be finalised, but we have started working with partners, such as UNICEF and with the Jamaica Library Service,” Dr. Tortello pointed out.
“A lot of work is being done with parents by Government and non-governmental organisations, such as the Coalition for Better Parenting and National Parent Teachers Association of Jamaica (NPTAJ). There are a lot of NGOs out there doing great service and what the Parenting Commission wants to do, is help them to do their work even better, so we want to be able to create avenues for them to dialogue with each other,” she explained.
Dr. Tortello said that the Ministry is looking to establish partnerships with both public and private sector organisations.
“There are other partnerships we are working on with the Fresh Start Programme out of the Office of the Prime Minister, which looks at training Parent Facilitators, so we want to find out what materials we have available in Jamaica that have proven effective in training our parents at different socio-economic levels. We want to engage the church, the Peace Corps, Social Development Commission and the Ministry’s Education Officers, who can rally volunteers to create these parent training or information sessions that focus on key aspects of parenting,” she pointed out.
Dr. Tortello also noted that the Ministry, through the NPSC, will work with different parent groups to further disseminate the message of effective parenting.
“We want to bring together all of the different groups doing parenting training now and look at their materials and see which ones are most versatile, and we want to get videos and DVDs in clinics where parents are waiting…so that we can spread the effective parenting messages in more ways than one, not just in writing, but on film, television, the sides of buses, and on cell phones, if we can convince a cell phone partner to come on board,” she added.
Conceding that implementing these plans will be difficult, considering the financial climate, Dr. Tortello said that the Ministry would seek partnerships and will piggy back on other events or activities related to parenting.

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