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Minister of Education and Youth, Maxine Henry Wilson has said there was an urgent need to restore the traditional role of the family, as this was fundamental for a better society.
“The family is the first port of entry by everyone who comes into the world.and the reason the emphasis is placed on the family is because it is really one of the main institutions that transmit values. Wittingly or unwittingly you assume the values of your family.the family is really that first link between a child and society,” she pointed out.
The Minister who was speaking at the National Child Month Committee’s National Youth Forum yesterday (Nov. 24), at the Stella Morris Pastoral Centre, added that the disintegration of the family structure had lead to a breakdown in the values and attitudes of the youths in the Jamaican society.
“We have to look to what is happening in the family to find out why people are so impatient, why they are so disrespectful, why they don’t understand the role of authority, all of these things we learn as part of the family,” she noted.
Mrs. Henry Wilson urged the participants to not only use the opportunity to express their concerns about issues relating to the family but also to find solutions to the problems identified.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the National Child Month Committee, Dr. Pauline Mullings noted that unless the importance of young persons in the society was recognized and appreciated, then the country would not be able to move forward.
“Our nation will not be a nation that can impact, and can fit into globalization if we fail to recognize the importance and input of our young people. we need to get the family back to where it truly belongs and so this forum is to hear from you young people, we want to hear who or what is responsible for restoring the family,” she stressed.
The forum gave representatives from Kingston College, Holy Childhood High, Merl Grove High, and Meadowbrook High Schools as well as Balcombe Drive All-Age a chance to express their views and offer solutions as to how family values could be restored.
Dr. Mullings said she expects that the information garnered from the presentations would be disseminated widely, so that it will influence policy makers, parents and caregivers.
“What was said will be documented and we want to send them off mainly to the Ministry of Education and to organisations dealing with young people and the family so that it can be very clear that our young people have spoken, this is how they are feeling, these are the ideas.with a view that it will be taken to make a difference in our country and our families.”
The forum was held under the theme, ‘Restore the Family – Save our Children’.