No child should be left behind; every child should be in school, as there are more than 767 primary schools and 200 high schools that are fully funded by the Government, says Acting Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education and Youth, Dr. Kasan Troupe.
She was bringing greetings on behalf of the Minister of Education and Youth, Hon. Fayval Williams, at the Child Month National Church Service, held at the Eastwood Park New Testament Church of God on May 1.
Dr. Troupe pleaded with community leaders, parents and church members to call 211 if they know of a child not going to school and encouraged persons to recommend infant schools as an alternative to basic schools, if parents cannot afford the fees. She pointed out that infant schools are operated by the Government and are fully funded. “Do not keep the children at home; early stimulation is important,” she said.
Citing the Child Month 2022 theme, ‘Listen Up! Children Voices Matter’, Dr. Troupe noted that the Ministry will host special activities during the month of May.
‘Safe Speak’ sessions will provide a forum for children to tell how they feel about safety in Jamaica and school.
According to Dr. Troupe, the information garnered will guide safety policy development. Children will also have an opportunity to contribute to what is described as a policy dialogue, where the children will look at what is being done for the ‘End the Violence’ campaign.
“They will do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of what is being done in this country. This means their voices will impact what we do and how we develop policies, programmes and activities in our schools and beyond,” Dr. Troupe said.
“This year’s Child Month theme means that we have to pause as individuals and listen. We have to give our children the opportunity to speak up, assert themselves, share their perspective. We may not agree, but we have to listen, and as we listen, we will know what their thoughts are and we can guide them,” she said. The National Child Month Committee (NCMC)-planned activities for the Month will continue on May 20, which is celebrated as National Children’s Day. On this day, members of the public are being asked to wear sunshine yellow and treat the children extra special.
The NCMC will host ‘Pickney Party Live and Direct’. During the Party, children six to 17 years of age will have the opportunity to showcase their talents through dance, poetry, songs or any other Art form.
The National Day of Prayer for the Nation’s Children is Wednesday May 25. This will be held at the Trinity Moravian Church, Montgomery Avenue in Kingston.
On Tuesday, May 3, several households will receive care packages that will be distributed by members of the NCMC.
Lead sponsors for Child Month 2022 are GraceKennedy and National Baking Company Foundation. There are also Jamaica Producers, National Health Fund, Sangster’s Book Store and the JN Group.