Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training (METVT), Santia Bradshaw, has pledged her Ministry’s commitment to ensuring necessary interventions are made to combat inappropriate student behaviour.
Speaking at the launch of the Safe Zone Report It App, at the Hilton Barbados, Minister Bradshaw said she, like many others, had been “horrified” by the acts of violence displayed by children in public, in recent times.
In fact, she expressed concern about the sharing of videos of these actions by both students and adults, stating it was “almost as though it was a form of a badge of honour to participate in these behaviours”.
The Education Minister pointed out that the reports submitted to the Ministry by non-governmental organisations, which work with various schools across the island, highlighted the need for “decisive action to be taken at all levels”.
“Immediately, we set about to increase the support personnel of the Student Support Services Division in the Ministry of Education. The Ministry has one psychologist, several hardworking social workers, and officers … but they cannot do it alone. And in recent months, we have added six safety officers, who are working at a number of our secondary schools,” she stated.
She also revealed that counsellors would be introduced in primary schools to tackle deviance in its early stages.
“Many of you are well aware that the problems don’t only arise at the secondary level. In a lot of cases, when you do the research, you find that a number of these students were acting out from a young age, and therefore, we believe that we have to ensure that we [help] these children with the appropriate human resources at the primary school as well.”
The Education Minister also announced that “school counsellors” would be introduced at the secondary level to provide additional support for guidance counsellors.
“And after extensive discussions with the Ministry of Education, we recognised…that we required a school counsellor who would work more closely and directly with the Ministry’s Student Services team and support the existing guidance counsellors.
“It also meant that those individuals would not break at the same time the traditional school term would. They would be an extension of the support services that could be offered during vacation periods, because I think most of you would recognise that while we may put programmes in place during the school term, the truth is, there are lots of opportunities for us to continue to do interventions beyond the school term.”