JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Commission received a financial boost from financial giant, National Commercial Bank (NCB).
  • Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, spoke to the importance of effective parenting in the society.
  • The Minister said that when it comes to the upbringing of the child, there can be no margin for error.

The issue of effective parenting has taken on added significance with the official launch of the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC), and National Parent Month 2013, on Friday, November 1, at the Office of the Prime Minister.

The Commission also received a financial boost from financial giant, National Commercial Bank (NCB), in the sum of $5 million over two years to assist in its work. The sponsorship will take the form of cash, products and services and will last from August 2013 to August 2015.

Addressing the launch, Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, spoke to the importance of effective parenting in the society.

“I wish to affirm the epic importance of this event. This is more than just the launch of another agency. This is a vital ingredient in the transformation of Jamaican society towards being an effective social organism, an effective economic entity,” Rev. Thwaites said.

He argued that being a parent “is the most important thing that any adult can do,” and pointed to anecdotal evidence from the schools which show that students who have strong parenting support perform better and demonstrate less anti-social behaviour.

The Minister said that when it comes to the upbringing of the child, there can be no margin for error.

Rev. Thwaites threw the Ministry’s support behind the National Parent Teachers Association and all other parenting groups which are being formed in the schools. He paid tribute to the former Education Minister, Andrew Holness and Dr. Rebecca Tortello, who conceived of the NPSC and who did most of the groundwork for the Commission.

He also thanked the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), NCB and other partners who have contributed towards the work of the Commission.

Meanwhile, Executive Director, NPSC, Dr. Patrece Charles-Freeman, said the establishment of the Commission demonstrates the major commitment of the Government towards parenting support.

She informed that one of the main initiatives of the NPSC is the establishment of Parent Places within the six Regions of the Ministry of Education, of which 30 are already in place and  a further 30 scheduled to be opened by year end.

“A Parent Place is a ‘one-stop-shop’ for parents, a place in or near every major community, identifiable by its logo and by its activities. It is a comfortable and attractive place for parents to go for parenting information, for courses and workshops, for mutual support from other parents, and where resources and creativity allow, other needed or desirable activities, such as social and recreational family activities, counselling and other helping services, and income-support training activities for parents’ economic benefit,” Dr. Charles-Freeman said.

She informed that one of the main parenting initiatives is a government-to government-collaboration between USAID and the GOJ to strengthen the parent-school partnerships in 60 primary schools, in order to improve literacy outcomes. This initiative focuses on students in grade one, who are drawn from schools located in areas where crime is high and literacy low.

The NPSC Head also outlined a slew of activities for National Parent Month, which is traditionally observed in November. These will include a National Church Service; Parent Forum; Parenting Expo; National Parent Teachers Association of Jamaica Conference and Expo, and a National Assembly of Parents islandwide in all schools.

Assistant General Manager, Retail Banking, NCB, Marcia Reid-Grant, said the bank was proud to be part of the NPSC initiative.

“We believe that our contribution in cash and kind over the next two years, at least, demonstrates the shared commitment of the Jamaican government and the bank to bring this important parenting support to national focus. We see the vision of the National Parenting Commission as not only a promise, but a call to action that is important for all Jamaicans to acknowledge and to protect our most vulnerable resource and citizen and our most valuable asset for the future,” she said.

The theme for National Parent month is: Transforming Families through: Communication, Awareness, Resources and Education.