Jamaica to benefit from US$4m Improved Safety and Security in Schools Project
Jamaica is to benefit from a US$4 million Improved Safety and Security in Schools Project aimed at reducing the crime level among the nation’s youth.
The initiative targets youth between the ages of 10 and 29 years and will compass 981 primary and secondary schools and 50 communities.
The programme was launched on Wednesday during a breakfast meeting at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston.
It involves collaboration among the Ministry of Education, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Education Trust (NET).
The project will be undertaken over a two-year period with US$3 million in funding from USAID and US$1 million from the Government of Jamaica.
Among the objectives of the programme are reducing violence and critical incidents among youth; reducing antisocial behaviour among youth; engaging more parents and communities in the behaviour change process, and providing co-curricular activities to students with the aim of assisting them to develop better social and life skills.
Education Minister Reul Reid said education is one of the best ways to reduce crime in Jamaica.
Reid said research shows that increasing enrolment in secondary school reduces the risk of war.
He said that not only will the project have a ripple effect on crime at the national level, but is a major investment in Jamaica’s education system.
Acting Deputy Chief of Mission, United States Embassy in Jamaica, Maura Barry-Boyle, noted that the project is part of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative aimed at strengthening regional cooperation on citizen security and combating the flow of illicit narcotics and other transnational crimes that threaten regional security.
She noted that the Safety and Security in Schools Project will serve to make inroads into crime and violence at the micro level.