Stakeholders in the education system have been urged to set fine examples, consistent with accepted norms and values, for students and support these young ones, as Barbados seeks to create communities of learning within schools, churches, homes and the wider community.

This was stressed today by Chief Education Officer, Laurie King, as he addressed the two-day conference on Facing Tomorrow With Today???s Students, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

???We cannot and must not throw our hands up in the air or engage in the blame game or finger pointing. The education of our young charges must be seen as the collective responsibility of all stakeholders if we are to develop strategies to ensure that we maximise the benefits of our education system,??? Mr. King said.

The education official noted that while it was accepted that globalisation and industrial development were raising the material standard of living for many, be accepted that, at the same time, they were also creating side effects in the form of a host of social and environmental sustainability challenges.

???The education system, and in particular the primary and secondary schools, are not isolated entities and do not exist in a vacuum. The schools are simply a microcosm of the wider society. We at the Ministry of Education are cognisant of that fact and we recognise that there appears to be an increase in deviant behaviour among some of our students, which manifests itself in the form of violence and bullying. These behaviours result in the loss of valuable teaching and learning time,??? Mr. King stated.

Participants heard also that discipline was the degree of order which was necessary for teachers to get on with the business of teaching and learning, and the Chief Education Officer said it had long been recognised and acknowledged that a multiplicity of social and emotional factors were impacting discipline and negatively affect the delivery of quality education.

The conference, which ends on Wednesday, has as its key objectives to: engage stake holders in a collaborative discussion on the issues; create awareness of the behavioural issues facing our educational architecture; and provide a forum for intense exchange of views and ideas that occupy the education space.

The Ministry hopes at the end of the sessions to design appropriate policy interventions, ensure the maintenance of the school fabric and garner feedback from all critical stakeholders.

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