JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Eight educational institutions based in Portmore, St. Catherine, have formed a cluster through which they will share best practices.
  • The group is to lead the ‘Respect Agenda’ campaign that seeks to re-socialise students in civil values.
  • Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, welcomed the move.

Eight educational institutions based in Portmore, St. Catherine, have formed a cluster through which they will share best practices aimed at enhancing student behaviour and learning outcomes.

The group is to lead the ‘Respect Agenda’ campaign that seeks to re-socialise students in civil values such as respect, honesty, discipline and hard work. The objective is to transform the behaviour of students, especially those coming from dysfunctional homes, so that they can perform better academically and consequently, lift the quality of the human resources of the country.

Officially launched on Friday, February 14, at the Portmore HEART Academy, the campaign is being rolled out by the Ministry of Education with the support of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, and is expected to receive funding from the PetroCaribe Development Fund, as part of an incentive package.

Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, welcomed the move, saying it was commendable that the schools can come together “to heighten the moral and social tone of every school (in the cluster).”

“We have to advance new standards of behavior, of social conduct, which will inure towards better academic achievement and the expression of that in productive behavior in our society,” the Minister said.

He further applauded the involvement of the students themselves in influencing behaviour change among their peers, “through their quality circles and supported by the idea of class mentors, in promoting good values and attitudes, conduct and behavior at school, at home and in the wider society.”

Principals from six of the eight schools forming the Portmore cluster, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on the initiative. They are: Ascot High; Bridgeport High; Cumberland High; St. John’s College; Waterford High; and Portmore Community College. Representatives from Cedar Grove Academy and Greater Portmore High were not able to sign on the day.

Programme Co-ordinator for the campaign, Reginald Budhan, explained that the ‘Respect Agenda’, draws on the experiences of other behavioural programmes and corrects some of the weaknesses.

The programme is being piloted in Region six and is eventually to be rolled out in other regions.

The schools have also agreed to collaborate on standardising assessments in the schools and national mentorship for students, a move applauded by the Education Minister. Over 50 mentors have now been trained and are being assigned to schools. They are scheduled to be officially designated as national mentors by the Governor-General in March.

Chairman of the Portmore Cluster of Schools and Principal of the Portmore HEART Academy, Karen Kennedy, informed that the cluster is going to focus on raising academic standards, transforming student behavior and promoting civil values.