JIS News

Minister of State for Education, Youth and Culture, Dr. Donald Rhodd, has called on Jamaicans to hold firm to the ideals of truth and integrity and respect for life and self, noting that these were essential features of a peaceful and caring society. He noted that as a country, “we cannot continue to conduct our affairs with hostility and coarseness and with scant regard for human life, evidenced by the high levels of crime and violence in our schools. In the past schools were safe havens in many troubled communities, however we see in the media where our schools have become crime scenes”.
The State Minister, who was addressing the launch of the Values and Attitude competition for schools in western Jamaica, decried recent incidents of violence in schools, but noted that efforts to address the problem would require full stakeholder partnership involving the government, the private sector and non government groups, as well as the wider citizenry.
He however, lauded the National Values and Attitude Programme as a step in the right direction. “This programme today reaches out not only to students. but also to parents, teachers and the wider public to embrace positive values and attitudes. We would therefore like to encourage our students to choose wholesome values and attitudes and by so doing, choose success.” Dr. Rhodd stressed.
Information Minister, Senator Burchell Whiteman, who also attended the launch held at the Executive Inn in Montego Bay on Wednesday (Sept. 21), commended the organisers of the competition. He noted that, “it is going to involve a lot of teamwork and draw on the creative spirit of our people, our teachers, our children and those who work in the school community . it is expected also to provide a mixture of opportunities both for individual expression and collective effort.”
In terms of the outcomes, the Information Minister said that the contest should result in “a more attractive and better learning environment, greater stability in the schools, more wholesome interaction with the neighbourhood, institutional pride and confidence, community pride and improved individual self-esteem”.
The competition, which will be held under the theme: ‘For a better me, a better you, a better Jamaica’, will begin in October and span the Christmas and Easter terms to culminate with Child Month celebrations in May.
The 51 participating primary schools will be assessed based on the appearance of the school plant; general attitude and behaviour of students in school, on the playfield, on the road/bus and while in their uniform; general deportment of students; and the quality of pieces to be entered in essay, poster or poetry competitions.
Judging will be done in two categories – Grades One to Three and Grades Four to Six. The top schools will receive computers, cash, trophies, and certificates.