A charter has been drafted for students to have a voice in education and should soon be rolled out.

Minister of Education, Ronald Jones, stated this on Tuesday, following his address at the Youth Leadership Conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

The conference allowed students to discuss positive vibes within their schools.

Mr. Jones said: ???I became convinced generally, arising out of the nature of our society, that our young people???s voices and their rights are not looked at as widely as possible.

“Overtime, we have had so many complaints from teachers, parents and students themselves, even students who have left school who believe that they might have been disadvantaged, that they never had an opportunity to truly and genuinely defend themselves when a charge or a complaint is brought against them.???

He explained that the charter would be imbedded within existing codes such as the Education Regulations, and that it would give students the right to have someone intercede on their behalf.

???We allow, in this country, defense attorneys, lawyers and all of those to deal with persons perceived to be criminals, but sometimes in our system the voice of the students tend to be silent. And, it???s that, I think, I would want to see changed. You cannot hope to transform a society by stifling the voices of our youth, of our young people who should be saying something,??? Mr. Jones contended.

He pointed out that a charter for parents was also on the cards and this would speak, for instance, to parents having a right to a conversation with the teachers on their children. While stating that this was part of what he considered ???a new look at certain aspects of education???, he noted that both charters were developed out of a quest for a new strategic direction for education in Barbados.

Acknowledging that it was nothing revolutionary as it had been part of other systems before, he said the document would contain guidelines for students on rights and responsibilities, addressing issues such as the need to respect others and expected behaviours on the street, buses and wherever they interact.

The Education Minister said implementation had been set back by a few months, however, the student charter would be rolled out following consultation with partners in education, and after discussion on the new mobile policy in schools.


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