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Education Minister, Andrew Holness, is urging Jamaicans to be more proactive in protecting the nation’s children, and is advocating a return to the tradition where communities were integrally involved in safeguarding the youngsters’ welfare.
Speaking at the National Church Service to launch Parent Month 2008 at the Word of Life Worship Centre in Old Harbour, St. Catherine, on Sunday (Nov. 2), Mr. Holness cited the need for collaboration among stakeholders, including: Government, parents, the Church, law enforcement agencies, and all well thinking individuals, in order to preserve the interests of the country’s children.
“If we manage to accomplish this unbroken circle of partnership, we will be able to keep out all the threats that exist in our society today, the drugs, the violence, the aggression, and the cultural idiosyncrasies,” he opined.
Alluding to the theme for Parent Month, “Parenting… Right from the Start”, the Education Minister described it as apt, noting that parenting begins with the plans made to have children, pointing out that the undertaking was mistakenly deemed to be simple and straightforward by some individuals.
In this regard, Mr. Holness said the challenge facing the Ministry is how best to effectively channel the best practices of proper parenting through stakeholders to parents, and advised that the Ministry has formulated a Parenting Policy, which will be launched shortly.

Minister of Education Andrew Holness (left) engages Parliamentary colleague, and State Minister in the Ministry of Water and Housing Everald Warmington, during the National Church Service to launch Parent Month 2008, at the Word of Life Worship Centre in Old Harbour St. Catherine on Sunday (Nov. 2). Both Ministers made presentations during the service, with Mr. Warmington delivering Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s message. Parent Month is being celebrated during November.

The Minister further said that the Ministry will be using the services of the National Parenting Commission to co-ordinate a range of activities, and would mobilise the relevant agencies, to provide funding and, more importantly, a national guide on the direction in which parenting should be taken.
“Critically, it (Policy) will also act as a clearing house for information, and a point of reference for parents in crisis, who don’t know what to do, (and) who are at their wits end with their children. We believe it will significantly impact on the level and quality of parenting in Jamaica,” the Minister stated optimistically.
This, he added, will create a ‘parallel reinforcement’ in moulding students into active, responsible, participatory citizens, who are also productive, creative, and innovative workers. This, Mr. Holness pointed out, is where the partnership strategy is critical, as students leave the classroom with positive dispositions, only to encounter conflicting ideals and moral values in the wider society, and lamented that, often, there is no reinforcement at home for the values being taught at school.
“That is why we emphasise on rebuilding that partnership with our parents, to realign what is happening in the homes with what is happening in the schools. What is happening in the schools must be reinforced at home in a parallel way, and that is why we place so much emphasis on parenting,” he stated.
In his message marking the launch, and read by Minister of State in the Ministry of Water and Housing, Everald Warmington, Prime Minister Bruce Golding appealed to well-thinking individuals to play their part in protecting the nation’s children from the wave of attacks being meted out to, and perpetrated by them. The Prime Minister noted that the ‘village’ concept being highlighted is crucial, and commended the Coalition for Better Parenting, the Ministry of Education, and all stakeholders for observing Parent Month 2008.
Activities marking Parent Month 2008, being celebrated during November, are collaborative undertakings between the Ministry of Education, and the Coalition for Better Parenting.