Education Not Punishment the Focus of GIS

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Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite unveiling a plaque to commemorate the 130th anniversary of the Government Industrial School. Looking on are: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Lucine Wharton-Issacs; Principal of the GIS, Erwin Leacock; and Deputy Principal, Ronald Brathwaite. (A. Gaskin/BGIS)

The legislative framework of the Government Industrial School (GIS) is under review as Government seeks to push the aspect of education and restitution rather than corporal punishment.

This was disclosed by Minister of Home Affairs and Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, as he addressed a ceremony to mark 130 years of the school’s existence at Dodds, St. Philip today.

"Although we are 130 years we have not moved legislatively to bring what we do at this institution in line with modern international best practices. That is one area which the Principal and the Ministry have been working on to transform the legislative framework that governs the Government Industrial School," he said.

He explained that over the last couple of years preference was given to a system that de-emphasised punishment, and emphasised responsibility, and the fact that the young men and women were being trained to re-enter society so they could make a meaningful contribution.

"We are very proud of the fact that with our emphasis on education many of our youngsters are leaving this institution with CXCs [Caribbean Examinations Council certificates], some have gone onto the [Barbados] Community College, some have gone on to the University [of the West Indies].

"We also recognise that not everyone will be academically inclined so we are teaching vocational studies so that we can offer everyone the chance to excel at whatever they are good at," he said.

He added that Government wanted to ensure that the children who came into contact with the GIS were "better off" when they left, and could go anywhere and make a meaningful contribution. "Our responsibility is to make these boys and girls into good adults," Mr. Brathwaite said.

The Home Affairs Minister also noted that efforts were being made to move the maximum age of children admitted to the facility to 18. That, he said, would result in a change in the way business was done.

Mr. Brathwaite observed that this factor would be considered when the new facility was constructed.

The Attorney General disclosed that efforts were being made to establish a new first class facility at Dodds, St. Philip to be on par with that for the girls at Burrowes, St. Lucy. In the interim, he noted, repairs were being carried out on some of the dormitories.????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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