Tue | May 28, 2024

Williams: Pray our children won’t normalise violence

Published:Wednesday | April 24, 2024 | 12:14 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
Education Minister Fayval Williams making a statement to the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
Education Minister Fayval Williams making a statement to the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Education Minister Fayval Williams is hoping Jamaican children will learn how to solve conflicts without resorting to violence.

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, in the aftermath of the stabbing death of a 15-year-old student at Irwin High School in St James last week, Williams expressed condolences to the parents of the deceased, Raniel Plummer.

“It is devastating for the family, the school community, and Jamaica as a whole, when a child kills another child. It should cause us to look within ourselves as parents, as a community, as an education sector, and as a society,” she said.

“Yes, there may be factors that contribute to the belief among some children that the answer to their frustrations in human interactions is to lash out with violence,” she said, but expressed hope that several programmes in schools will eventually change such ideologies.

These include the Restorative Justice Programme, parenting programme, guidance counselling, and technical and vocational education programme to allow more hands-on training and skills acquisition.

The minister said that teaching appropriate behaviours begins in the home, even before children begin attending school.

“Children must be taught early by parents and other adults to follow rules and structure their lives for positive achievements; they must be taught non-violent ways of solving conflicts,” she urged.

In the meantime, as the implementation of recommendations of the Patterson Report on Education gathers momentum, Williams pointed to what will be the guiding philosophy for the sector.

The philosophy begins with the words ‘Under God’ and embodies the tenets of the ministry’s efforts to Transform Education for National Development (TREND), she said, noting that it is the first time such a philosophy is being introduced in the education sector.

The Patterson Report, is aimed at addressing the gaps and issues plaguing Jamaica’s education system – from the early childhood to tertiary sector –and recommends 365 points for implementation under seven pillars.

The education philosophy reads: “Under God, the Jamaican educational philosophy embraces diverse learning capacities and styles, aiming to nurture each learner’s full potential. We provide a comprehensive education, blending academic and vocational pursuits with values-based teachings and life skills. Our focus is on fostering community harmony, appreciating our cultural heritage, promoting inclusivity, environmental stewardship, and respect for all. Through this approach, we aim to cultivate learners’ understanding of themselves, respect for humanity and love for country as embodied in our National Vision, Anthem, and Pledge.”