JIS News

Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, Maxine Henry-Wilson has said that many Jamaicans are still grappling with the impact of cable and the intrusion of foreign values and lifestyles.
She contended that the impact of drugs, promiscuous sex and conflict-ridden behaviour pervaded “all of our experiences”, adding that the education sector was reeling from the worst effects of the combination of all three.
“Principals bemoan the every day use of stimulants by even very young students. The age at which our children engage in sexual activity is getting younger and younger,” she told the audience at the opening of a four-day conference hosted by the International Association for Counselling (IAC) at the Runaway Bay HEART Hotel and Training Institute in St. Ann, recently.
The conference, which was staged between April 24 and 26, was held under the theme ‘Crossing Boundaries in Counselling: Global Issues – Local Context’.The meeting was a forum of ideas for international collaboration among counsellors and related professionals, to address global cultural, economic and social challenges.
Discussing how these concerns could be addressed, Minister Henry-Wilson said: “We must hone our methods of building genuine communities which act as a cradle for all our people”, adding that, fortunately, there was a growing recognition of the worth of professional interventions such as counselling, so that, “as our populations become more inextricably intertwined, not only do we benefit from collaboration but also from sharing best practices”.
The Education Minister also emphasized that the importance of cross-border, cross-culture relationship was not confined to actual physical movement from one country to another, noting that “virtual movements also have their challenges”.She said while Jamaicans spoke glibly about cross-border relationships and the apparent realities of the global village, they sometimes forgot the differences that exist.
“With the constant movement of peoples between one country and the other with the constant contact of various cultures, there is need for a greater collaboration of issues faced by various social groups,” the Minister said, pointing out that “the migration of people test our social systems and structures and many of our assumptions”.
During the conference working groups examined the role of counselling in helping to address global issues related to some nine topics including, movement of people, either forced or by choice, within and across countries; major health issues, for example HIV-AIDS, substance abuse; education; family issues and challenges; poverty; violence; and counselling as a profession in the Caribbean.
IAC is an international non-governmental organization, registered as a charity in Belgium. Since its inception in 1966, IAC has played a significant role in the development of counselling services in many parts of the world.

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