Saturday 4 July, 2020

Garcia: Girls displaying more indiscipline than boys

Pictured: Boys looking on as schoolgirls engage in a brawl.

Pictured: Boys looking on as schoolgirls engage in a brawl.

Education Minister Anthony Garcia has lamented the prevalence of school indiscipline which mostly involve female students.

Garcia was speaking at a media conference at the Education Towers in Port of Spain, on Tuesday.

He noted that there have been five major incidents of violence for the current school term. The Minister said while this is a small number considering there are roughly 700 schools across the country, it is still a cause for concern. 

“What is troubling is that most of these incidents occur outside of school but involves our female students. So when you see street brawls, and I deliberately use the word brawls, we notice that those brawls are being engaged in by our female students.”

Acknowledging that there are a few incidents of male indiscipline as well, Garcia said his Ministry has taken a firm stance and will "stamp it out" in its totality.

“We are not going to rest peacefully unless we can be assured that a school is a place of safety, a place where teachers and students could reside and operate in relative calm and peace and we are determined to ensure that this is done.”

“If there are some students who are hell-bent on creating havoc in our schools, we will deal with them and we will deal with them effectively.”

Minister Garcia further noted that action will be taken against any of the junior perpetrators who commit violent acts against their peers.

“If one or two children want to disrupt or take away that right [to an education] from 700 students, approximately, in a particular school, then those one or two students must be dealt with and we are going to put our foot down forcefully. In some cases, we will have to ensure that some of those students are removed from the school system until they show that they are ready to return to the school system and obey the rules of the school."

Also speaking at the event, Chief Education Officer Harrilal Seecharan explained that the Ministry has developed guidelines for a School Discipline Plan that is data-driven and context-specific.

He said this includes basic operating procedures such as adequate supervision and proper classroom management.

Meanwhile, Seecharan reminded that the National School Code of Conduct was rolled out last year, setting specific consequences for students with behavioural issues.

He said extracurricular activities have been implemented to address students who can become disengaged while the Ministry is continuing to partner with parents through the Student Support Services.

Seecharan said Learning Enhancement Centres for suspended students are also operational and determines if an when they should be reintegrated, transferred or be placed in an alternative learning environment.

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