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Politicians afraid to tell poor not to have kids - Reid

Published:Monday | April 22, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Ruel Reid, principal of Jamaica College, makes a presentation during the Paediatric Association of Jamaica 19th Biennial International Conference 2013 held Saturday at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston. - Gladstone Taylor/Photographer

Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer

Principal of Jamaica College (JC), Ruel Reid, is charging politicians to be more decisive in ensuring that proper family planning is enforced in the country.

Reid was addressing the topic 'High-school performance at the CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) level: Is there cause for concern?' during the Paediatric Association of Jamaica 19th Biennial International conference, held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, in downtown Kingston, on Saturday.

The JC principal said socio-economic factors continue to be a hindrance in students' performances, especially at the secondary level.

"We have been talking about basic values and attitudes for such a long time and we have not been doing anything. Our politicians are afraid to stand up and say you can't have children if you can't afford it," Reid declared.

"We can't continue the cycle where people feel it's the norm to have children in any kind of environment and that is a huge factor of what has been stifling educational output in Jamaica," he continued.

Promote culture of responsibility

Reid stated further: "We are at the same place that we were in 1967 and, if people are continuously in poverty, their focus is not going to be on education and the data supports it, because even after we do ASTEP (Alternative Secondary Transitional Education Programme), we still have 10-14 per cent of kids who have serious cognitive deficiencies as a result of those socio-economic issues."

Reid also called for parents to promote a culture of responsibility among young persons, especially with heightened advances in technology.

"What we see in Jamaica is a lack of responsibility; the cell phones and other forms of social media have become the parents of our children and our children then end up abusing technology sometimes to their own demise," he said.

"We have a very socially dysfunctional society and we are not going to get very far if the policymakers don't wake up and decide to change our course of direction," Reid declared.