Minister of Education, Santia Bradshaw. (FP)

The Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training will be drawing on the expertise of a number of professionals to deal with the problem of violence in schools.

Addressing the opening of the Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools’ (BAPPSS) educational conference last night at the Barbados Defence Force, Minister Santia Bradshaw once again reinforced her Ministry’s commitment to tackling the myriad problems facing teachers, principals and children in schools.

Ms. Bradshaw told the gathering of about 70 principals and other education officials that Government had started the process of addressing some of these issues.

“My Ministry plans to convene a session of professionals to deal with the emerging trend of violence in our schools.… [We have] proposed an increase in the number of Guidance Counsellors, safety officers and social workers in a number of schools. We shall also address violence and bullying by facilitating anger management resolution classes. We believe that students must also take ownership of their own behaviours, and one of the ways in which this can occur is by having them actively participate in identifying their weaknesses and seek to strengthen them with the guidance of appropriately trained professionals,” she stated.

Alluding to the recent launch of the schools’ anti-violence campaign, Ms. Bradshaw said her Ministry would also be working closely with the Transport Board to ensure that a timely bus service was provided for students.

The Minister lauded the principals attending the two-day conference for their willingness “to continuously increase their knowledge and skills”. She further added that her belief was that education extended beyond the boundaries of the classroom and syllabus.

This, she noted, was crucial in order for students to develop into well-rounded citizens who could not only contribute to building a strong, sustainable society but could also integrate effectively within a globalised environment.

Ms. Bradshaw acknowledged that strong parental and community ties were necessary for teachers and principals to “navigate these changing times effectively”.

She added that there was also a need to develop all staff members employed at schools as well as for a student-centred learning climate with an instructional focus, pointing out that school leaders and policy makers could contribute “by becoming more discriminating consumers of research and developmental work”.

The conference concludes tomorrow, Wednesday, July 11.

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