Sun | Oct 21, 2018

Gleaner Editors' Forum | Clubs in high schools to foster culture of good governance

Published:Monday | September 10, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer

Setting up governance clubs in high schools is a sure-fire way of fostering a strong culture of good governance throughout the country, one expert has suggested.

The assertion, by Dr Christopher Charles, senior lecturer in the Department of Government at The University of the West Indies, came last Thursday during a Gleaner Editors' Forum that sought to air, among other things, issues around accountability, transparency, and governance across the public and private sector.

While pointing out that there is a very active, though small, governance society at The UWI that already goes into high schools to meet and hold discussions with students, Charles charged that the setting up of individual clubs would have greater reach and impact on good-governance practices locally.

"Thereafter, we should move towards having a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that focuses on governance - one that the private sector and other agencies can liaise with - because we're not going to get the political leaders to respond to us effectively if we don't have a specific, well-funded organisation that is engaging them daily about governance. But we need to start by going into the high schools because they are malleable during adolescence," he argued.

For Professor Alvin Wint, lead independent director with the National Commercial Bank Financial Group, millennials are eager to see a transformed Jamaica, so the implementation of clubs focused on good governance can only be a positive.

"Making clear the connection between good governance and development and growth in the country is important so they can see that to get the Jamaica that they want, they have to focus on issues of governance," he argued.

For Howard Mitchell, head of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, good governance will also become more attractive to the younger generation through more effective media delivery.

"Social media is taking over the place but it's really one-dimensional in terms of efficiency," he expressed.

"What we have to do if we want the society to change and become more cooperative is to work out the media delivery. We need to look at more effective ways of communication. Traditional media certainly is hurt, and we need to find ways to support it," he contended.

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com