JIS: Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Dr. Grace McLean, has reaffirmed the Ministry’s commitment to reducing violence within schools.
Speaking at the opening ceremony for a Parent Place located at Emmanuel Chapel in Mt. Salem, St. James, on Friday, April 27, Dr. McLean said a multipronged approach is being used to tackle and reduce violence among youth.
This is among the strategies being implemented to stem violence in schools, and adds to the Ministry’s Change from Within programme, Peace and Love in Society (PALS), and the Violence Prevention programme.
Dr. McLean said the launch of the facility is in full alignment with the broad strategic objectives of the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC) to offer proactive and reactive parenting education and support.
“While it is true that there are many contributing factors to teenage delinquency and other forms of social dysfunction, the role of parents in shaping the values and attitudes of our children cannot be ignored,” she emphasised.
She lauded the efforts of the National Education Trust (NET) and the NPSC for conceptualising the initiative.
For her part, Attorney General, Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte, who is also Member of Parliament for West Central St. James, said she is pleased with the initiative, which is a move in the right direction.
“A lot of the challenges that we face across the island find their root causes in parenting issues. Children who have been taught well, who have been inculcated with good values, who learn good manners at an early stage, show up in life behaving better, and many times are outside of the criminal justice system,” she said.
The Attorney General said the centre will provide that physical space where parents can learn from each other and accomplish the work that needs to be done.
In 2017, the NET secured a US$3-million grant to fund initiatives aimed at violence reduction among youth. The project forms part of the USAID/Ministry of Education partnership for improved safety and security in schools, which is intended to reduce antisocial behaviour among youth and reduce the ability of criminal elements gaining access to school premises.
The Parent Place in Mt. Salem is the first of 12 to be launched across the island and will operate as a hub for community care groups to make parenting information and training available. Through these groups, the NPSC will ensure early detection of parental issues and facilitate referrals for families deemed at-risk.
CAPTION: Attorney General, Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte (fourth left), at the unveiling of a sign at the opening of Parent Place at the Emmanuel Chapel in Mt. Salem, St. James, on Friday, April 27. Also at the ceremony were (from left): Chief Executive Officer, National Parenting Support Commission, Kaysia Kerr; His Worship the Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Homer Davis; Acting Mission Director, USAID, Andrew Colburn; Managing Director, National Education Trust, Marcia Phillips-Dawkins; Chief Education Officer, Dr. Grace McLean; and Councillor of the Mount Salem Division, Kerry Thomas.