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Teachers to be trained as safety and security ambassadors

Published:Thursday | September 19, 2019 | 12:11 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer

Following the launch of the Ministry of Education’s Safety and Security Ambassadors Programme in Region Three in May, training is set to begin next week in St Ann and Trelawny, which make up the region.

“We are now about to start the implementation of the (Safety and Security Ambassador) programme by conducting a ‘Safety and Security Training of Trainers’ workshop, which will be held from September 23 to 26. The training will cover all high schools across St Ann and Trelawny,” Anisa Wilson-Smith, senior youth empowerment officer in the ministry’s Youth and Adolescence Policy Division, told The Gleaner on Wednesday.

Wilson-Smith said over 200 teachers will be trained over the four days and they, in turn, will train students to become safety and security ambassadors.

The training is set for William Knibb Memorial High School in Martha Brae, Trelawny, on September 23 and 24, where up to 50 teachers from high schools across the parish will be trained each day.

Training will then shift to Ferncourt High School in Claremont, St Ann, on September 25 and 26, where up to 65 teachers will be trained each day.

Training components will include a self-image session, writing safety and security action plan, safety and security implementation plan, bullying and cyberbullying, and human trafficking.

The Safety and Security Programme is aimed at enabling student leaders to be actively involved in the process of improving safety and security of themselves and other stakeholders, such students, staff and visitors, in their respective schools.

programme introduction

The programme was introduced after a proposal that was spurred by a UNICEF report in 2018 that stated in part, “the welfare of Jamaica’s children is undermined by the violence that they experience, especially in spaces where there is a reasonable expectation that they will be safe – at school, in their community and within the home, where corporal punishment is still legal. In a climate of high crime and violence, 68 of every 100,000 Jamaican children are victims of violent crimes. About 65 per cent of students are bullied at school and 79 per cent of children witness violence in their community or at home.”

Ministry of National Security data indicate that 3,671 students were cited for antisocial behaviour of varying degrees during the 2012-2013 academic year, leading to the arrest of 201 students, the cautioning of 2,361 others, and the monitoring of 1,109.

The programme is expected to, among other things, increase prosocial behaviour by getting more students enrolled in clubs and other productive activities, have more students displaying positive behaviours, increase academic performance among ambassadors, and enhance their psychosocial environment.

The ministry says the National Safety and Security Ambassadors Programme is aimed mainly at preventing conflicts but has some intervention component.