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'I would move my child' - ECC chairman tells parents of embattled Calabar boys to relocate them

Published:Monday | September 17, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer

Chairman of the Early Childhood Commission, Trisha Williams-Singh, is adamant that the parents of the embattled boys from Calabar High School in St Andrew who were to start fifth form earlier this month should move their boys elsewhere.

After intervention from the school, the boys were told that they would not enter fifth form with averages below 60 per cent.

Speaking with The Gleaner recently, Williams-Singh indicated that allowing the boys to return to the Red Hills Road-based institution could damage the young men's self-esteem.

"I would move my child. When you have a child and he usually functions at 75 per cent but now he is functioning below 60 per cent, I need to assess my child. If I place my child in an institution where everyone sitting around him is matriculating and performing [at a higher level], you are adding additional stress on your child. You need to remove him and put him in an environment that is not stressed," she insisted.

Roughly 30 boys were initially barred from beginning the school's fifth-form programme. Since then, some have been reinstated, one migrated and others moved on, while some were still in limbo.

"I believe in cause and effect. The children that were barred from Calabar, we need to look at their profile from early. We need to look at whether they were stimulated [mentally] from early. Let us look at the environment and whether they were ready for that. If their brains are not ready for learning [a particular thing] and you push them and they are still not learning, they are not dunce, but something is wrong. If the child is hands on, maybe they need to be in a technical environment," she suggested.

Dave Thomas, president of the Calabar Alumni Association, UK Chapter, said that the school had to put in necessary programmes to help the boys.

"If we are going to be competitive as a people, we have to put parameters in place. There has to be a benchmark. We are not saying that everyone is going to be solely academic. What the school has done is identify 60 per cent and said that if they don't meet the threshold, the school will help you in meeting it before you can transition. It is unfortunate if the youth are not interested," he said.