Focus on being good parents, says Hanna
The education ministry is to embark on a behaviour-modification programme which portfolio minister Ronald Thwaites said is critical in helping to deal with antisocial challenges faced by young people.
"The need of our young people, particularly in school as well as beyond school, to learn to curb their anger to avoid violent responses is more palpable than ever before, and needs to be confronted both by the education system and by every element in the society," Thwaites said.
Some $59 million is to be spent under the Poverty Reduction Programme on non-works activities to include scholarships, employment internships, summer camps, youth workshops and behaviour modification. Additionally, Thwaites said
his ministry will be spending $52
million on a behaviour-modification programme.
Lisa Hanna, minister of youth and culture, said the youth ministry which she leads will also contribute significantly to the behaviour-modification programme.
"It is very clear coming from the Budget, that this Government is very serious about tackling issues as it relates to youth and children. We have increased resources for youth programmes as well as increased
capital expenditure for youth and children's programmes," Hanna said.
She noted that a therapeutic centre is to be built this year for children with behavioural problems.
But amid calls for more resources to deal with the problem of uncontrollable children, Hanna said parents need to do more and rely less on the state.
"While we call for increased resources, we really should be calling for people to also take responsibility for when we are having children and what that requires," the minister said.
"While you can increase PATH and you can increase resources, if we don't start to look at ourselves as a nation in terms of how we take responsibility for when we have children, then we will perennially be coming back here for increased budgets going forward," she added.
Meanwhile, Andrew Holness, the leader of the Opposition, has urged Thwaites to take another look at the remedial school which was built in Malvern, St Elizabeth, which is now being used as a sixth form by Munro College."
He said the $52-million behaviour-modification programme announced by Thwaites is welcomed "although small", and argued that the Malvern facility could be used for behaviour modification instead of a therapeutic centre being considered by the youth ministry.
"It would appear to me that the Government is not following strategic policy, because, here you are saying that a facility that was purpose-built is now being used for a purpose for which it wasn't built and another ministry will now try and fill the gap," Holness said.