Man up, Jamaica! - 'Talk Up Yout' to highlight issues affecting males
What is going on with our boys? The issues affecting our boys have been placed on the back burner for too long. It is time we start focusing on the problems that are causing chaos in the lives of young males and, by extension, our girls.
Males are facing a real crisis. This year, UNICEF reported that the Alternative Secondary Transitional Education Pro-gramme enables students who fail the Grade 4 Literacy Test to be placed in a special enrichment programme. Males make up a majority of 80 per cent of this programme. Boys often fail to matriculate to higher education, where the number of males at the University of the West Indies is about half of the number of females. They are clearly underperforming in schools and need help.
'Talk Up Yout', currently in its eighth season of the television show, is giving a voice to our boys. My business partner and co-executive producer Nadia Stanley and I are thankful for the support of our investors. With this help, we are better able to preserve our human resources and promote sustainable development.
Vision 2030 can only be met if we work together. To build a better Jamaica, we need to be supportive, empathetic, inventive, passionate, and above all, cooperative. We must focus on our boys.
The show, which has been sponsored by the National Baking Company for eight years, with CranWata joining us for the past four years, is focusing on issues such as crime, mental health, illiteracy, and neglect. The objective of this season is to sensitise the nation about the problems affecting males so as to foster positive change in their lives.
Story of Stephen
Episode one of 'Talk Up Yout' called 'Garrison Youts', highlights the story of Stephen, who grew up in the community of Jacques Road in Mountain View. We get to see how a young man who, as the son of a don, lacked positive male figures in his life. Stephen faced problems with indiscipline at school, but he did not follow the footsteps of his father. He migrated to the US and upon returning to Jamaica, he developed the cheerleading skills which he learned abroad. He is now the CEO of a cheer company called Cheer Sensation Jamaica. Stephen's mentor is Major General Antony Anderson, commissioner of Police.
Boys who lack positive role models are more vulnerable to developing delinquent behaviour. These children with behavioural problems are normally kicked out of school, abandoned by relatives, and often end up in state care. A UNICEF situation analysis in 2018 shows that boys are more likely to be placed in institutional care than girls; in 2017, 52 per cent of children in institutional care were boys.
Watch 'Talk Up Yout' every Wednesday at 6 p.m. and catch the repeats every Saturday at 9:30 a.m. on Television Jamaica, and visit our website, www.talkupyout.com, to watch past episodes. You will be given the opportunity to hear from the males about their struggles and how they have overcome them. If you want to support our efforts, visit our social media pages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; follow the hashtags #LiftOurBoysJA= #BetterMen and tell us what are your views on how the issues affecting our males can be solved.