JIS News

Minister of Education, Andrew Holness, has disclosed that plans for the National Parenting Commission are far advanced, and that the legislation for its establishment should be passed by January of next year.
“The parents themselves do not understand how to go about holding the school accountable and so we have decided to, and we are very far advanced in setting up the National Parenting Commission. We have a preliminary draft Bill for the Parenting Commission and we hope that by January of next year, we will have passed the legislation to establish the Commission,” the Minister told JIS News in an interview.
According to the Minister, the Parenting Commission would serve a number of functions to better assist parents.
“It will be the main managing agency of the partnership between the school and the parent, so we will be providing information; we will be elevating the importance of parenting to national development, and we will be promoting the principle of parallel reinforcement,” he explained, noting that parallel reinforcement occurs when parents and schools come together.
“The school is the main socialising arm of the state; the school should therefore be the microcosm of what is good in the society. It should be the nursery where we promote the best values and ideals of the society, but when we bring students into that nursery and we try to infuse those values and attitudes and they leave the nursery and go home, they are being shown other values, they are unsupervised and indeed, some parents show them negative values and so what we have to do is encourage our parents to work in a parallel fashion with what we are teaching in the schools,” the Minister added.
He pointed out that through the National Parenting Commission, parents would be provided with the necessary resources to address their concerns.
“We have to give parents the resources, such as printed materials, to help at the early stages with the development of literacy; we have to give them the resources in terms of their own parenting skills, what are some of the best ways of disciplining their child? How do you engage your child in discussions? and..we have to provide them with other resources, for example, there are some parents who have special disorders and they don’t know where to go and they don’t know how to get help and the Parenting Commission will provide that kind of information and direct them, but it will also be a tool of policy,” Mr. Holness said.
In the meantime, the Minister is appealing to parents to desist from protests and other forms of violence and use the formal channels to have disputes settled.
“What we want from our parents is a positive contribution. If you have a difficulty with the school leadership, then there are means and mechanisms through which you can register your protests, rather than sending the signal, which we don’t want to send to our students, that the only way to get a response out of any social system, is to protest and use aggression and violence. That is a message that the education system does not want to send.As the Minister of Education, I give you my guarantee that the system, the formal channels will be responsive to your requests,” Mr. Holness told JIS News.