Since 2007, financial and technical support for the Schools’ Positive Behaviour Management Programme (SPBMP) has always come from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

However, while UNICEF still remains committed to assisting the programme, the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development is looking to other entities to provide additional sponsorship.

This was disclosed recently by the Acting Chief Education Officer, Laurie King as he addressed a media briefing at the Ministry’s Headquarters, at the Elsie Payne Complex. The briefing sought to educate the public about the SPBMP and promote the added value of that programme to schools and the education system as a whole.

As he commended UNICEF for its sterling contribution, Mr. King said: "Although they are willing to assist us in the future, the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development understands that it is not the only organisation which UNICEF assists and because of the importance and magnitude of this programme, this ministry is inviting sponsors to become partners."

And, he added: "Since one of the goals of the Schools’ Positive Behaviour Management Programme is to promote the vision that it takes a village to raise a child by involving parents and the community more effectively, it is, therefore, important that we now resolve to take concerted action to support the SPBMP."??

"We know that our economy is facing a fiscal crisis, but for sponsors to come on board with this programme augurs well for all parties.?? This programme encourages learning through positive discipline.?? This approach will have a ripple effect to the home, community and by extension the country.?? In other words, how students are treated and disciplined at home should mirror how they are treated and disciplined at school, church, on the bus, and in a fast food outlet, for instance."

The SPBMP, which was formerly called the Child Friendly Schools initiative, focuses on positive behaviour. It seeks to revisit pedagogy of student-centred instruction, particularly addressing special needs; create inclusive, learning-ready classrooms, where there is appropriate learning materials and resources for all students and to encourage skills-based health and family life education that provides students with the capacity to deal with issues affecting them. These include such areas as conflict resolution, anger management, drug education, nutrition and HIV and AIDS education.

According to Mr. King, there are several ways in which sponsors can support the programme.?? Partners can create billboards, flyers, a jingle and infomercials as well as murals and other visual displays. Student leadership programmes; debates and councils; parent workshops, as well as seminars on de-escalating inappropriate behaviour and bully prevention can also be considered for sponsorship.?? Additionally, they can join forces with the Ministry to work towards a reward system and developing a school-wide behaviour management plan; designing a national logo; student and teacher incentives; reward incentives and ultimately an annual awards ceremony.

Sponsors will decide the particular activity of interest, and that activity will be displayed and marketed with the organisation’s logo or jingle.?? However, the Acting CEO said the Ministry of Education would not refuse cash sponsorship if such is made available.

As he urged the several sponsors present at the briefing to come on board, Mr. King stated: "The proposed sponsorship to the Schools’ Positive Behaviour Management Programme should strengthen the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development’s fiscal position, by allowing it to expand this initiative and enterprise to enhance the quality of education in Barbados. It will also develop the Ministry’s governance, improving accountability and promoting more democratic representation."

Meanwhile, UNICEF’s Representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Tom Olsen, noted that the SPBMP was "entirely the product of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development". ??He stressed: "The Global Child Friendly School model, the forerunner to this programme, was introduced to authorities here with the full understanding that it is not a template to be religiously followed as a one-size-fits-all solution.

"Education authorities in Barbados, as indeed in the other Eastern Caribbean countries, have adapted aspects they want to focus on in the island’s education sector and the Ministry has also allowed individual schools to build out the programme in the way that best suits their own set of circumstances. I think we all recognise there is no one way to build a school. Each country, each community, each school has varying needs and, therefore, need a range of options."

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