Oct 01, 2010 News
– Minister stresses importance of “child-friendly” homes
Every Child Guyana/ChildLink, in collaboration with the Enhance Public Trust, Security and Inclusion Project, held the official launching of the “Youth Vision Initiative” on Wednesday last. Trophies were awarded to the winners of the essay and art competition that was conducted as part of Education Month activities.
The initiative was launched with the intention to aid in the elimination of violence in a child’s life with the aim of maximizing the potential of every youth. The event was graced with the presence of Education Minister Shaik Baksh who made a special effort, during his speech, to emphasize that a child’s social environment plays an integral role in his/her academic performance.
According to Baksh, this is why the Ministry of Education is making a concerted effort to edify parents about the importance of having a “child-friendly” home. As a result the ministry is reinvigorating Parent-Teacher Associations.
The Minister also made mention of the recently concluded Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) Workshop. According to Baksh, HFLE is now a timetable subject in 30 secondary schools in Georgetown. He said at the end-of-year evaluation, if the programme is successful, the Ministry plans to expand it.
Baksh stressed that no child should leave the school system without a “quality education”.
According to the Minister, violence has been a problem in schools. However, since the ministry have been making a special effort to deal with the issue by placing guidance and council officers in schools that have been affected, he asserted that, “I am happy to report that violence in schools has decreased”.
He explained that schools are having a problem where a child’s home environment spills over to that of the school, but emphasized that, “we have to nip it in the bud”.
According to Baksh, “the children with good character and upbringing are those who excel into becoming doctors, engineers etc.” It was in this train of thought that he noted that his ministry fully supports the initiative.
A powerful message was shared by a male student of St. Winefride’s, through a poem entitled “Our deepest fear” by Marianne Williamson. The young man related to his colleagues a stirring line from the poem which read, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond all measure…”
Samantha Austin, Coordinator – projects ChildLink, provided the audience with an overview of the Youth Vision initiative.
According to Austin, “Youth vision’s” main objective is by March 2011, through empowerment, advocacy and direct support, young people exposed to violence, abuse or other vulnerabilities in five high schools in Georgetown will benefit from a safer school environment, free from violence.”
Austin informed that the programme is targeting 2,000 in-school youths, 500 parents and teachers from Tutorial, Dolphin, St Mary’s, St Winefride and Houston secondary schools.
This one year initiative is lead by 25 youth advocates and 100 mentors based in each of the five targeted schools.
According to the coordinator, 146 parents have completed three months of training in Parents Skills education. Parents were asked to examine their parenting styles and drawn parallels between their early childhood experiences and the way they parent today so they can choose a more positive way to discipline and change inappropriate behaviours in children.
Austin went on to mention that in an effort to collaborate with the Ministry of Education, through teachers staff development sessions, Youth Vision will support teachers in realizing the vision of child-friendly classrooms by using restorative and developmental approaches to supporting youth to receive quality education.
Austin mentioned that in support of the Education Month theme, Youth Vision has coordinated an Art and Essay competition within the five schools. The art material will be used to design posters that will aid the schools in making their classrooms child-friendly.
According to Austin, overall, ChildLink holds the firm view that violence is learned behaviour and through the Youth Vision Initiative they hope to support youths, parents and teachers to stop this behaviour and take a stand for non-violence.
Trophies were presented by Ms. Marjorie James, Director of Cooperate Services Every Child United Nations, to students winning the inter-class/inter-school essay and art competition.
Tutorial High won the Art competition and St Winefride’s won the Essay competition.
Trevor Clarke, a representative of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in his address to the gathering, alluded to a poem recited by a student earlier in the programme and reinforced that every child has great potential and should not be afraid to “maximize their potential.”
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