Nadisha Hunter, Staff Reporter
A Jamaica College (JC) student is knocking the curriculum development programmes of the Ministry of Education, saying they ignore integration of drug abuse awareness courses in the daily lessons offered in schools.
JC school captain Gavin Samuels said the ministry should place the topic among the current subject areas in order to educate students about such harmful substances.
Samuels was a member of a panel discussing the topic, 'Drug Use Among the Youths', during a Youth Editors' Forum hosted by The Gleaner at the Jamaica College auditorium, Old Hope Road in St Andrew yesterday.
Increased social problems
The group said the Government was not doing enough to address the problem of drug abuse by children, which could lead to an increase in social problems such as crime.
Samuels said the Ministry of Education has a critical role to play.
"The co-curriculum development section of the Ministry of Education could do more in terms of embedding materials that advise children against the use of drugs from an early age and it cannot just be in grade one and then in grade five, it has to be continuous because this is how habits are made, by doing it over and over.
"So, if every year they are learning about the issue in guidance and counselling, social studies, history and all the subjects as much as possible that these things are not good for you, then they will be more likely to understand it from an earlier age and be able to make their own choices that are positive to the wider society," he said.
Statistics from the Jamaica National School Survey (2006) showed that of the youth population ages 11 to 17, more than 70 per cent have used alcohol; 27 per cent have used tobacco; 24 per cent have used marijuana; and 3.1 per cent have used cocaine or crack.
Members of the panel included:
School captain (known as head boy in other institutions) of Jamaica College, and junior ambassador for Jamaica.
Gave an overview on drug abuse in Jamaica and introduced the other areas that would be explored.
Involved in co-curricular activities and represents the school in swimming.
Presented on politics and drug abuse in Jamaica.
Former president of the 4-H Club, treasurer of the Students' Council.
Presented on laws to prevent drug abuse in Jamaica.
Captain of the Jamaica College table tennis team.
Presented on drug abuse and crime in Jamaica.
President of the Inter-School Christian Fellowship, public relations officer of the JC Students' Council.
Presented on drug abuse and culture in Jamaica.
President of the Jamaica College Key Club, second vice-president of the United Nations Club, member of the Information Technology Club.
Presented on drugs and education in Jamaica.
Mario McFarlane:First vice-captain (deputy head boy in other institutions), member of the Jamaica College Schools' Challenge Quiz team.