JIS News

The Ministry of Education will be launching a major programme this year to create and maintain peace in schools.
Education Minister, Andrew Holness, making the announcement at a recent Peace Day press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) in Kingston, said that the initiative was in keeping with the Ministry’s thrust to address the growing problem of school violence.
“We are reviewing for signing, a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) titled ‘Creating and Maintaining Peaceable Schools’,” he said, noting that the project, which is slated to begin later in the year, “will cost somewhere in the region of $6 million or $7 million.”
“The project will seek to build capacity, manage, prevent and reduce violence in schools. It will be launched in 90 primary schools and 11 high schools right across Jamaica and that will, of course, assist the Ministry of Education and indeed, the country as a whole, in coming to grips with the violence issue,” he outlined.
According to the Education Minister, violence has become a subculture and a way of life in Jamaica and much more needs to be done to eliminate the problem.
Parents and teachers, he said, must work together to tackle the problem at home and at school, noting that the National Parenting Commission would assist efforts in this area.
The Commission, he explained, would manage the relationship between the home and the school, by promoting the idea of parallel reinforcement, so that once the curriculum has been restructured to promote good values, those values were emphasised in the home.
The Education Minister, in the meantime, commended the Peace and Love in Society (PALS) programme, noting that it represents the “most significant and sustained initiative of civil society to actually deal with this phenomenon of violence in our country and for that, I am proud.”
He noted that the Ministry has been a constant partner with PALS over the years, adding that the partnership has been very beneficial.
The Education Minister called for greater support of the PALS initiative from the wider society, adding that this social intervention programme was critical to the development of a violence-free society.
PALS was launched in 1994 with the goal of creating a gentler society by focusing on children.
Initially called Peace and Love in Schools, the acronym was eventually changed to mean Peace and Love in Society, as it was felt that there should be more emphasis on reaching the wider communities, since the good often taught in schools became ineffective because of conflict in the home environment.
The wider reach in the society would, therefore, be more beneficial in the long run.
Peace Day, which is a programme of PALS, will be observed on Tuesday, March 3.

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