Lack of resources biggest impediment to access to education -U-Report
Sixty-nine per cent of Jamaican youth have identified lack of resources in schools as a factor affecting children's access to education, according to the findings of the first U-Report Jamaica poll which asked youngsters between the ages of 13 and 29, "What specific issue related to children's access to education is most pressing in your community?" There were 190 respondents.
Other responses included violence in schools (11 per cent), teacher preparedness (eight per cent), and quality of education (12 per cent).
In responding to the statistics, National U-Report Coordinator Christopher Harper said that an overwhelming response rate of 69 per cent was a serious cause for concern.
"A lack of resources in schools is contrary to the fulfilment of a child's right to education because it means that they aren't being equipped with the tools necessary to develop in such a setting," Harper argued.
He continued: "It also makes us wonder about whether the budgetary allocation to schools is sufficient and how these funds are being spent. The Ministry of Education should examine this issue closely, conduct an audit of the schools, and ensure that some action is taken, especially as we are closing one school year and preparing for the opening of another.
"We have three months to address the issue, and it is clear that for the start of the new school year, our schools should be fully equipped with the necessary resources to enable our children's educational development," Harper asserted.
Developed by UNICEF, U-Report Jamaica is designed to give local youth an opportunity to voice their opinions via weekly online polls on issues that matter to them and, in turn, become positive agents of change.
Currently, 1,260 youngsters between the ages of 13 and 29 have been registered locally as U-reporters across three channels: Facebook, Twitter, and SMS, courtesy of FLOW Jamaica.