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JIS News

National Youth Service in Schools, a programme designed to address anti-social behaviour among secondary students, will be implemented in high schools in Kingston and St. Andrew next January.
The programme is a joint initiative of the National Youth Service (NYS), the Education Transformation Team and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, and will be piloted in 12 of 43 institutions, which recently participated in the NYS Summer Success Camps. These will comprise co-educational, single sex, shift and non-shift schools.
The Education Transformation Team is providing funding for the programme.
In an interview with JIS News, Executive Director of the National Youth Service, Rev. Adinhair Jones, explained that, “the programme is a response to the anti-social tendencies that have become dominant in the secondary education system.”
“It is really a promotion and facilitation of pro-social behaviours and attitudes,” he added.The programme, he further explained would aim to prepare students for a smoother transition from school into the world of work, improve the overall functionality of the students in the society, encourage greater community participation and develop and foster their leadership skills.
In this regard, students would be required to live up to the core values of the NYS, which speak to “respect for self, peers and authority, discipline, proper dress and deportment, punctuality, and participation in co-curricular activities.” The strategy to be employed, he said, would require that students in Grades 10 and 11 join service clubs or societies, as well as give community service for a stipulated number of hours.
While students in Grades 10 and 11 would be exposed generally to the same areas, those in Grade 11 would be exposed to more advanced technical and skilled-based areas such as career planning, job seeking skills, and presentation skills.
In addition, the programme would involve the use of personal development sessions, which would be incorporated into the curriculum of grades seven through to nine, and would address areas such as Self-Development and Inter-personal Skills, Citizenship, Conflict Resolution, Family Life and Work Ethics. After the pilot is completed however, students in these forms would also be required to be part of service clubs.
Teachers would have the responsibility of ensuring that each student becomes a member of a club, and that he/she undertakes assignments mandated under the programme.
“As it relates to assessment and recognition,” Rev. Jones stated, “students get reports at the end of a term and there is going to be some indication on them as it relates to attendance and participation in the clubs and the actual hours done in relation to community service.”
The strategy would also see the placement of personnel from the NYS in the schools, with the function of mobilising students to become a part of service clubs as well as volunteers in their communities. As such, the initiative will be regarded as a co-curricular activity, instead of an extra-curricular activity, as it would serve to complement the academic aspect of the curriculum.
“It would mean a rationalization of the clubs and societies,” Rev. Jones asserted. “The philosophy.and the way they have been viewed in the past would have to be re-examined, as they would no longer be something that [a student] selects as an option.which means they [the clubs] would have to meet certain standards, and have measurable input and outcomes.”After the pilot, the programme is expected to move into all high schools come September 2006.