Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says conflict management should form a part of the curricula at schools as a means of reducing violence in the society.
Addressing students and teachers at Manchester High School in Mandeville on Friday (January 12), Prime Minister Holness said the principles of conflict resolution and management are critical to violence reduction and prevention, particularly among youth.
He referenced data indicating that a significant percentage of the shootings and murders are committed by young males under 24 years, adding that they are predominantly the victims of violence.
“We have a problem with resolving conflicts… we have a problem with violence. But we also have a problem with our young men [being] in conflict and using violence [to resolve it] and being the victims of violence.
“Governments usually try not to get too involved in regulating households, even in how they discipline children. But the social problems that we have, have become so challenging, they are now at crisis proportion that the Government has to be direct and instrumental in dealing with this problem of violence in a frontal way,” the Prime Minister stated.
Consequently, he maintained that “we need to take a different approach to solving conflicts; we can’t use violence to solve it.”
“We are going to have to incorporate the schools now, to deliberately teach in the curriculum how to manage conflict. It is going to have to be a curriculum subject,” the Prime Minister emphasised.
Meanwhile, Mr. Holness said there will be greater collaboration with the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC) and educational institutions to reinforce best principles of conflict resolution.
“There has to be a solid link between the home and the school. What is being taught in the schools must also be reinforced in the homes. So, yes, the two-pronged approach… we will be dealing with the schools directly about treating with conflict and about dealing with violence and building peace; and through the National Parenting Support Commission, we will also be carrying this message to parents to see a transformation of our society,” he stated.
Mr. Holness encouraged the students to be Ambassadors for peace, noting that they will be instrumental to Jamaica’s continued growth and development.
“You are going to be the ones to inherit a properly run and structured economy, and you are going to grow it. You are going to create the labour force that will attract the investment that will [transform] Jamaica into a first world country. But on the other hand, we need good citizens. We need people who will respect the law, we need people who will become good parents, we need people who will take a peaceful stance in resolving conflict.
So as we have worked on the economy and building the productivity of the country… we must now work on the person, the human being,” he underscored.
Prime Minister Holness was joined on the visit to the school by Member of Parliament, Manchester Central, Rhoda Moy Crawford, and other stakeholders.