JIS News

Education Minister, Andrew Holness, has said that schools, which are major agents of socialisation, could be used to break the cycle of violence and crime surrounding the country, by being transformed into violence-free zones.
He was speaking at the opening of a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)-sponsored workshop yesterday (Feb. 16), at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, to come up with strategies to provide quality education and to make schools more child-friendly.
“We acknowledge the difficulties that teachers face in today’s classrooms, particularly in a country like Jamaica, where violence is such a part of our culture, and where our intake of students with violent tendencies is very significant.
“However, I am committed to being the Minister that starts the process of breaking the cycle of violence in our society and transforming our schools into violence-free environments,” Minister Holness stated.
To achieve the best results, he said teachers would be retooled and empowered with non-violent, non-aggressive techniques in classroom management and principals would be given the help they need to develop positive systems of discipline and behaviour management.
“The Ministry of Education is now preparing a Behaviour Management Strategy, which is a document to assist schools in developing their own behaviour management systems,” he informed.
He noted further that in the next revision of the Education Act, corporal punishment, and all other forms of violent, humiliating and aggressive disciplinary measures or instructions, would be prohibited from Jamaican schools.
The four-day workshop, which has attracted education experts from Latin America and the Caribbean region, is the first in a series around the world, as part of UNICEF’s Global Capacity Development Programme on Child-Friendly Schools.
In the course of UNICEF’s work with countries over the past decade, Child-Friendly School models have emerged as a “package solution” and a holistic instrument for pulling together a comprehensive range of quality interventions in education.
Child-Friendly School models are now the major means through which UNICEF advocates for and promotes quality in education.

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