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Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, Maxine Henry-Wilson, has stated the Ministry’s intention to develop a Civics and Moral Education Curriculum to support offerings at the early childhood, primary and secondary levels.
Making her contribution to the 2005/06 Sectoral Debate in Gordon House on May 10, Minister Henry-Wilson said the curriculum “seeks to build in the children the requisite knowledge, skills and attitudes that will ultimately empower them to adequately deal with competing and conflicting demands, while holding firmly to their moral integrity and fulfilling their roles as responsible citizens”.
The introduction of the syllabus, she said further, was meant as a response to the decaying social fabric of the Jamaican society. “The content of such curriculum,” the Minister advised, “will include topics such as character building, bonding with family, (having a) sense of belonging to school, what it means to be part of a society; societal norms and values”.
She noted that the overarching goal of the course of study, was to “nurture a whole and balanced person, with a strong sense of moral values and good interpersonal skills, who will contribute to the well being of society”.
Turning to the Safe Schools Programme, Minster Henry-Wilson said the multi sectoral strategy to reduce violence in schools, had continued to make an incremental difference in the 114 institutions in which it was introduced last November.
She noted however, that there were some students who required counselling and strategies to effect behaviour change outside of the formal classroom setting and the Ministry was examining a proposal to develop an Adjustment and Social Integration Programme (ASIP) to deal with those students.
The ASIP will target students between the ages of 13 and 17, who have been expelled in accordance with the education regulations and will be considered for special treatment, while continuing with their academic programme outside of the formal system.
Mrs. Henry-Wilson said other options that were being considered were placements in secondary programmes in the non-formal system; placement in programmes run by the Ministry of Justice or special education and transformation centres, depending on the magnitude of the students’ behavioural problems.