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  • Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says teachers must be trained to better identify students who are in dire need of special attention.
  • Mr. Reid pointed out that in the coming days he will be meeting with his colleague Ministers at the Ministries of Health and Labour and Social Security to work out details on how best to have needy students maximize the benefits of the Government programmes.
  • The Minister said he will also be seeking the support of the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC) to guide young mothers on the art of good parental practices.

Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says teachers must be trained to better identify students who are in dire need of special attention.

Addressing the annual general meeting of the National Parent Teachers Association (NPTA) at the Montego Bay High School,  on May 28, Mr. Reid  said there is  a high percentage of students with mild to severe special needs,   and many teachers are hard pressed to readily identify them.

The Minister said the problem  is not the fault of teachers, noting that he has been having dialogue with the Ministry of Health, to chart a way forward on how best to deal with the problem.

“The fact is that teachers are not really trained to deal with the diversity of special needs…it is definitely a weakness in teacher training and is something we have to deal with expeditiously,” he added.

Mr. Reid  said it is really a testament to the dedication and professionalism of teachers, where against all odds, they have managed to deal admirably and competently with children with special needs over the years, even though many of them lacked the training to do so.

“We now know that we have a lot more kids today who have special needs and our attempt to fix the problem is from the root. As in the 1970s when we had community health aides, we have to intervene early before they get to our teachers at grade three and four,” he  said.

Mr. Reid pointed out that in the coming days he will be meeting with his colleague Ministers at the Ministries of Health and Labour and Social Security to work out details on how best to have needy students maximize the benefits of the Government programmes.

The Minister said he will also be seeking the support of the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC) to guide young mothers on the art of good parental practices.

“Eighty five percent of the child’s development starts between the ages of 0 and 3 and if we don’t get it right, we are going to lose many of our children,” he added.

Established in 2013, under the Education System Transformation Programme, the NPSC seeks to increase national awareness on the various issues affecting parents, provide support strategies to help parents address these issues, as well as to help parents connect with other parents and community members in an effort to cultivate an environment of positive parenting.