Marked decrease in violence at targeted schools
– Welfare Dept.
The Schools’ Welfare Department has reported that the placement of Guidance and Counselling Officers at Lodge, Tutorial and St. Winefride Secondary Schools, coupled with the support of the teachers and administrative staff, has significantly reduced incidents of violence at these schools.
Earlier in the year, the behaviour of student at these institutions was a major concern and the situation on several occasions attracted the attention of the respective communities, sections of the media and other concerned citizens.
Punctuality was also an issue, as a number of students were habitually late for classes on a daily basis.
“This situation has changed drastically and to date, the behaviour of students has improved and students are now attending school on time. There is a marked decreased in fights, gambling and students being out of their classrooms during the instructional period. Other behavioural problems such as students being disrespectful to their teachers and following other students; not being properly attired in their uniforms and leaving the classrooms and school compound without their teacher’s permission have declined dramatically,” the Schools’ Welfare body is quoted as saying in a Ministry of Education release.
Senior Guidance and Counselling Officer, Marceline Moses, credited the change in students’ behaviour to the vigilance, creativity and the system that is being used to monitor students.
Guidance Officers also receive support from the staff members at the three schools along with assistance from Ms.Moses in the form of group discussions, experiential sharing and developmental sessions.
“Intervention by the officers by way of the creation of a register to record the names of students, who violated the school’s rules, has resulted in a commendable dip in devious acts committed by students. This is not to say, that the situation at these schools is now a perfect one; behavioural problems still exist but to a lesser extent,” the report said.
The problems that exist are minor in nature, but the counselors are working to instill in all students values of positive, safe and acceptable behaviours both in and out of school.
The officers, once teachers, also supported the teachers of the schools by providing guidance and support to students who are academically weak. These include the provision of books and teaching aids to their teachers to promote learning and create child-friendly classrooms.
“Officers saw the need also to hold pep talks with students so as to prepare them for the shift, there is definitely a change. The fact that students were informed of the officers’ presence and the fact that they knew what the roles of the officers would be and what could be achieved by their intervention, they were willing to open-up to these officers to have their concerns addressed. Students now have a place to be where they can release their stress,” the report noted.
It noted too the need to strengthen the guidance department and observed that the negative behaviour of students are often off-shoots of problems in the home.
Parents, the report said, need to give their children the attention they deserve and members of the community need to foster and maintain a relationship that will instill in children the values of good citizenship.
Education Minister Shaik Baksh had earlier this year announced a 10-point plan to promote safe, acceptable behaviours and positive values in school.
These measures included strengthening the security systems in schools; searching of students at some schools; the re-launching of a national mentoring programme that will be extended to all schools; and the introduction of child-friendly schools in Region Two. This programme has been extended to 30 more schools this term.