The transition from primary to secondary school was the focus of discussion, when the Criminal Justice Research and Planning Unit hosted the opening ceremony of its ninth annual 11 Plus Programme today at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.
Aimed at pupils who recently completed the Common Entrance Examination, the three-week programme seeks to sensitise children on how to deal with certain challenges as they make the transition from primary to secondary school.
While delivering the feature address, Magistrate Barbara Cooke-Alleyne underscored the importance of developing effective coping mechanisms to navigate the social and psychological rigours of secondary school.
She told the audience: ???In 2007, I conceived the idea of a need for a programme to prevent children in secondary school from coming before the law courts. I was really concerned at that time as a sitting Magistrate in the Juvenile Court; and seeing young people coming before the court at this tender age for all types of crimes.???
Magistrate Cooke-Alleyne noted that the young persons coming before the courts were typically 14 and 15 years old, both boys and girls, often charged with assault.
???We must get into the schools from early with more programmes like these. Start from early to reach our children and we can detour from this violence and get back on a path that we can be proud of,??? she emphasised.
The three-week interactive programme, being held under the theme: In the Winners Circle: Making the Right Choice, will address topics such as Bullying and Conflict Resolution; Peer Pressure; Wandering; Substance Abuse; Your Body and You; and Self Esteem.