JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says every support must be provided for students, who come from weak family structures.
  • He said the lack of a father in many homes, must be viewed as a socio-economic disability, as this absence often hampers the development of these children in many respects.
  • Minister Thwaites was addressing the ninth annual Caribbean Child Research Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre downtown Kingston on Wednesday, November 5, on the topic: ‘Promoting the Rights of Children with Disabilities’.

Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says every support must be provided for students, who come from weak family structures.

He said the lack of a father in many homes, must be viewed as a socio-economic disability, as this absence often hampers the development of these children in many respects.

“Weak family structure is a chronic disability within the Jamaican society…it is a disability when you don’t have a stable structure, a relationship between mother and father, in the raising of a child. It compounds all the other issues. It is something so sensitive that we need to bring it into the open and deal with it,” he stated.

Minister Thwaites was addressing the ninth annual Caribbean Child Research Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre downtown Kingston on Wednesday, November 5, on the topic: ‘Promoting the Rights of Children with Disabilities’.

The Education Minister argued that it must be seen as a disability, with children are unable to sit relevant examinations or further their education, because the one parent who is present in their lives, is bound by economic constraints.

“I’m concerned. We need to recognise that while single parent families need every support, we can’t extol that kind of behaviour in our future,” he asserted.

Rev. Thwaites denounced the cycle of poverty, broken families, and the resultant social ills, caused by the absence of fathers in many homes.

Topics being discussed at the two-day regional forum include: Legal Issues for Children with Disabilities; Policy framework for children with disabilities; system of care approach to mental health issues of Jamaican children; Teaching and learning: Children with special needs; Adolescents with intellectual disabilities in transition from care; and Inclusion of children with special educational needs and disabilities into the mainstream primary level schools.

The event is organised by the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies, University of the West Indies, in collaboration with the Caribbean Child Development Centre, Early Childhood Commission, Planning Institute of Jamaica, Ministry of Education, Office of the Children’s Registry, CHASE Fund, and Jamaica Coalition on the Rights of the Child.

Sponsors include the Caribbean Development Bank, and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.