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Minister of Education, Andrew Holness, has said that the government intends to enforce the law against delinquent parents whom, he said, need to be more accountable for the way in which they parent their children.
“The land has laws against delinquent parenting and where we identify breaches, we intend to enforce the law,” Mr. Holness said as he addressed the St. Catherine High School’s 8th annual Boys’ Day held recently at Camp Verly in the parish.
According to the Education Minister, poor parenting is causing a serious burden on schools and places a severe strain on resources.
“We intend to hold fathers in particular accountable for the behaviour of their boys. The absence of the father in the household is probably the greatest contributing factor to the delinquency of our boys,” he stated.
Turning to the issue of male under-performance, Minister Holness, who is a past student of St. Catherine High said: “The sad truth is that many of us will perform below our potential and we will perform below the average performance of our women. That has very serious implications not just for the social structure of our country but it has serious implications for the economy of our country.”
Stating his commitment to make an impact on the performance of boys in schools, Minister Holness said, “I have the will to do what is necessary to make that correction but I am also very much aware that I am not the only one and it does not lie on my shoulder alone.”
“To correct this problem of male under-performance,” he noted, “we need a partnership with all the stakeholders of the nation.” The Minister called for the support of teachers, parents and the private sector, which, he told the boys, will require “your trained enhanced labour in the future.”
“This problem of male underperformance is a national problem and it needs a national commitment to solving it,” he stressed.
The Boys Day event, held under the theme: ‘Celebrating the past, embracing the future, developing nation builders’ was designed to “refocus the thinking of the boys and show them how they can be serious contributors to the development of society,” explained Guidance Counsellor at the school, Orrett Thomas.
He noted that boys tend to imitate negative behaviour and Boys’ Day shows them how they can be positive people who can make a difference in society.
During the day the boys, from grade seven to sixth form, were educated on a number of issues designed to prepare them to be nation builders including entrepreneurship, parenting, healthy lifestyle, masculinity, setting goals and selecting appropriate role models.