There are some parents who should never have conceived, says Minister of Education Ronald Jones.
He gave this unflattering analysis of parenting in Barbados today while speaking at the official opening of a Restorative Practices Training Workshop for principals and deputy principals of secondary schools at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies.
Speaking against a backdrop of concerns about indiscipline in the island’s secondary school system and poor parenting skills by some parents, the outspoken minister said: “The physical ability to reproduce is what it is. However, beyond that, there are a whole other set of emotions and practices that are important to the rearing of a child. Some people may say what I said is strong, but it is the truth. I do not pretend. I always keep it real.”
Referring to the brutality of slavery which all Caribbean countries experienced during their colonial past, and repeating his contention that corporal punishment does not offer a solution to indiscipline, Jones suggested that policymakers must “make a great leap forward” in solving indiscipline in the island’s schools.
Giving the thumbs up for the adoption of Restorative Practices instead of corporal punishment and a collaborative effort in dealing with today’s youth, Jones said: “We need a whole-nation approach for our children. Common purpose and common pursuit. The fragmentation that we get sometimes out of arrogance, our own beliefs in the institutions that we established, [do] not lead to a solution.
“So PAREDOS does something, the school structure does something, MESA does something, and they are all fragmented. There is no whole organizational solution and sometimes they are played off one against the other,” he added.
Jones said policymakers in the Ministry of Education and all educators were “seekers” who having tried one solution embraced another if that one failed to address the problem. He pointed out that the rationale behind the staging of today’s Restorative Practices Workshop was to use counselling and interaction by principals and deputy principals with students in finding a solution to indiscipline in the secondary school system.
Suggesting that students should not be seen as criminals, Jones said: “Counselling is the basis of Restorative Practices. Do not treat our students as criminals. Treat them as human beings with a soul and somehow we are able to reach their souls. There have been too many good examples of the soul being found and those who were thought to be candidates for her Majesty’s Prisons Dodds never got there. Timely and right intervention is saving souls from destruction.”
The Christ Church East Central MP took media houses to task for publicizing and popularizing the challenges of the youth in an attempt to increase the sales of their publications.