Zero toterance for school violence - Reid
With the new school year set to begin on Monday, Education Youth and Information Minister Ruel Reid has warned that violence in school will not be tolerated.
"We have an obligation to ensure that our school compounds are safe and that our students and teachers can operate in an environment that is conducive to learning. Our schoolyards and classrooms are for developing our young, bright minds, and will not be allowed to be impacted or be overrun by violence. We believe that it is critical that we send the message as forcefully and as clearly as possible," Reid said.
He was addressing a Region Three back-to-school conference at York Castle High School in St Ann on Tuesday.
Minister Reid said the Government "has invested heavily in the development and implementation of strategies to make our schools safer. We have completed the training of 1,000 safety and security officers".
The areas covered under the training included human trafficking, roles and responsibilities of the school resource officer,
the duty of care pursuant to the Childcare and Protection Act, and the issue of gangs in school.
The education minister said the ministry intends to recruit and train 400 persons, ages 17 to 24, for jobs as school security and safety officers.
Turning to the removal of auxiliary fees at the secondary level, the education minister assured the education stakeholders that schools will be adequately funded through increases in the subvention and maintenance grants.
"I wish to reiterate that to help safeguard the entitlement to quality secondary education, this administration will increase funding to our high schools," he said.
Secondary schools received $1.4 billion in tuition fees in June, representing the first tranche of $3.9 billion in support for the academic year.
The second instalment will be disbursed in the second week of September, the third in December, and the final payment in April 2017.
The minister said he is to receive a report from education officers on the extent of support for the new policy.