- The Education Minister insisted that building character is key, pointing out that high GSAT scores are not enough.
- He also spoke out against the early introduction of children to sex, citing an example of a child singing a song with explicitly sexual content.
- He further urged parents to be careful about how much, and what their children watch on television.
Education Minister, the Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, is again urging parents to set good examples for their children that will help to build their character.
He was addressing a meeting of the St. Aloysius Primary School’s Parent Teachers Association (PTA), on February 20, downtown, Kingston, where he spoke on matters of proper parenting.
The Education Minister insisted that building character is key, pointing out that “getting the high scores for GSAT (Grade Six Achievement Test) and having no manners at all is not going to help you.”
He also spoke out against the early introduction of children to sex, citing an example of a child singing a song with explicitly sexual content.
“Children in primary schools are not supposed to be force ripe about those things; they ought to know what is right and what is wrong. They need to respect their bodies. The parents need to lead them in this regard,” the Minister said.
He further urged parents to be careful about how much, and what their children watch on television, noting that “the TV and cable are tremendous sources of information but they can also be a source of great, great vulnerability and prejudice to your child.”
Encouraging parents to get their children to read more, he stated that by the time the current crop of students in grades 1 to 4 get around to taking the GSAT exam, there is going to be a test in oral English.
This, he said, is in response to findings by examiners that while the students are able to understand the English language they are unable to express themselves in it.
He also reminded that by 2017, the entire school curriculum will be changed to bring about a focus on critical thinking and analysis and not so much on memorization.
The Minister urged the school to request help if needed, to improve students’ performance in Mathematics, pointing out that it is a fundamental subject to learning the sciences, which, he said, is a pathway to careers of the future in technical and vocational areas.
Rev. Thwaites also made the call for parent to stop chastising the children when they do not get into the “so called traditional high schools.”
“I have to tell you that many of the newer high schools are doing as well and better than some of the older schools,” he stated, while citing examples.
“Do not let prejudice; do not let hearsay govern what is significant in your choices of school for your children. We all need to recognize that if you pay attention to your child’s education, if your child is serious about it, then good can come out of wherever they are signed to go. We must grow where we are planted,” the Minister said.
Rev. Thwaites also supported a call from the acting vice principal for parents to contribute to their children’s education. He noted that while it is a constitutional right for every child to get a free education in the primary school, parents should try and contribute something to the school.
The PTA also heard from Investigating Officer in the Office of the Children’s Advocate, Anika Bloomfield Pate, who urged them to support their children and learn to communicate with them.“What you put into your children is what you get out,” she noted.
She implored parents not to beat or curse their children, pointing out that they too have rights and parents should learn to listen carefully to what their children are telling them.