Governor General Sir Patrick Allen said young men must be taught character traits such as respon-sibility, perseverance, discipline, honesty, courage, fairness, respect, integrity, citizenship and patriotism.
"Character education will assist them to become men who can be global citizens, who understand and respect differences and know how to settle problems through dialogue and consensus," he noted.
The governor general was addressing a graduation ceremony of Prospect College in St Ann last week Saturday.
Moulding boys into men
He argued that character education would also help in moulding the young boys into men who will make the kind of decisions that will advance the nation and bring prosperity and peace.
Sir Patrick said there is nothing wrong with Jamaica that cannot be fixed by what is right with the country.
He said that this idea has formed the basis of his 'I believe' initiative, which was launched at King's House on May 19, and is aimed at encouraging young people to believe in themselves, achieve their goals, and in return contribute to the building of Jamaica as a great nation.
The governor general said that statistics have shown that 26.2 per cent of males between the ages of 15 and 24 are illiterate; that 75 per cent of all crimes are committed by males under 30 years old, and that youth crime and violence is costing the country approximately 3.2 per cent of the country's gross domestic product.
He argued that the statistics make it necessary to have institutions, such as Prospect College, which emphasise education, discipline and service, and will provide the training and discipline needed for young men in a well-ordered society.
The governor general appealed to members of the Prospect College graduating class of 2011 to carry the positive traits that they have acquired at the institution, always remembering that these will define them as persons, how they see others and how others see them.
Prospect College is a semi-military institution in St Ann, which has been in operation since 1956.