We have made the youth so, says Jones
Minister of Education Ronald Jones has accused adults of hypocrisy in not accepting responsibility for many of the problems facing the country’s students.
Jones levelled the charge today at the start of a two-day education conference that brings together industry stakeholders, including students, to look at ways to address deviant behaviour in schools, and chart the future of the sector.
“How many of us are guilty of making the already vulnerable desperate? Ask the question. How many of us in the brutality of our words destroy whatever little glimmer was trying to show through? Ask the question.
“It might not be you; but you can rest assured there will be somebody, somewhere, destroying that little light that is trying to show through; and in our hypocrisies we ask ourselves, ‘How de yute get so?’
“The youth get so because we made them so,” Jones told participants of the conference being held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
The minister encouraged students to speak frankly about the issues affecting them without the fear of reprisal.
“Don’t hold back; speak the truth. God will bless you. Free yourself of what has been bothering you for years . . . . Tell your principals how you feel, with respect,” he advised.
The minister suggested that lack of consistent action had led to failures in the system, and promised that the conference, being held under the theme Facing Tomorrow With Today’s Students, would not be a one-off. At the same time, he sounded a warning that deviant behaviour in schools could not be allowed to hold the education system to ransom.
“Some of our teachers have been targets of violent acts within our schools, and we need to ensure that the educators and the delivery of the educational product are protected from the agents of deviance,” he said in a statement.
Chief Education Officer Laurie King too noted the apparent increase in bullying, and deviant as well as sexual misbehaviour among students.
“These behaviours result in the loss of valuable teaching and learning time. Discipline is the degree of order which is necessary for teachers to get on with the business of teaching and learning,” he said.
King said it was also time to stop the blame game and finger-pointing, and urged all stakeholders to accept responsibility for what is happening with students.
“The education of our young charges must been seen as the collective responsibility of all stakeholders if we are to develop strategies to ensure that we maximize the benefits or our education system. It is against this background that we feel it necessary to forge ahead with a comprehensive, coordinated and multi-sector plan to address these issues,” King said.