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Former Opposition Leader and Distinguished Fellow at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona campus, Edward Seaga, has urged parents to refrain from practising excessive corporal punishment in child rearing, as this would lead to a perpetual cycle of violence.
He argued that if changes in the practises of parenting, which create stressful and hostile experiences were not corrected, then the current generation of children would “become the next generation of social problems.today’s abused will become tomorrow’s abuser.”
Mr. Seaga’s comments came today (Sept. 29) as he addressed a symposium hosted by the Jamaican Council for Adult Education (JACAE) at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.
He noted that with the appropriate measures, “the next generation of children could be raised with less of the brain damage suffered by their parents and become a better educated, more socially balanced generation, with added capability of the brain to rely on to handle their growing up periods to maturity without causing chaos.”
The former opposition leader, whose presentation was titled: ‘Revolutionising Adult Education through the Learning City’, stressed that this new order of parenting should be the first priority for focused learning and could be a focal point of participation by people of different backgrounds.
“Some would impart their successful experiences and some would learn, as in the new initiative, the Roving Caregivers Programme,” he stated.
He told the symposium that there was an urgent need to seriously address the growing problem of indiscipline among young people.
Mr. Seaga noted, that families and schools have become deeply concerned about the new order of indiscipline, inordinate violence, disrespect and other types of social disorder “that is running away from their control and from overall authority.” He pointed out that if Jamaica was to follow the proposed concept of implementing a Learning City as was being championed and pursued by the JACAE’s professorial peers in Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada, problems such as Jamaica’s urban plight, particularly within the inner-city, had to be given consideration.
The Learning City model uses learning as a way of promoting social cohesion, regeneration and economic development and involves all facets of the community.According to Mr. Seaga, cramped living quarters, and frayed relations in the inner city “rife with suspicions of who are friends and who are enemies” posed drawbacks to the process of learning. Other problems include the stress caused by conflict of community violence, and the deep concern with disrespect.
Mr. Seaga explained that “deep-rooted remnants of centuries of disrespect under the punishing conditions of slavery have made respect one of the prime elements, which cement relationships among young men,” adding that “even minor acts committed inoffensively in unstable circumstances can be considered grounds for disrespect and consequential abuse.”
The Distinguished Fellow noted that while Jamaica sought to adopt the Canadian learning city concept, there were in fact variations of the concept that already existed in Jamaica through such organisations as neighbourhood watches, citizens associations, and community councils.
He noted, however, that the participatory interest in a number of the organisations was not sustained because of the lack of substance of their meetings and proposed that the Learning City promotional organisation establish a community speakers’ bureau. “The bureau would list dozens of volunteer speakers, who could indicate the area of interest in which they would be willing to give informal presentations or lectures to groups of persons who are anxious to learn but are stymied by learning opportunities,” he stated.