The high cost of health care brought on by unhealthy lifestyles is taking a toll on the country’s education system, Minister of Education Ronald Jones has contended.
Jones today complained that because Government had to spend a lot of its financial resources on health care, the Ministry of Education was feeling the pinch.
Speaking at the launch of St Michael School’s Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sunshine, Temperance, Air, Rest and Trust (NEW START) health care initiative, Jones blamed those who would not engage in healthy lifestyles.
He said the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education together are allocated an annual budget of at least $1 billion. However, he said a change in living habits could save $100 million in health care costs that would be diverted to education for the development of infrastructure and additional resources.
“I would like to take from health $100 million to put to education; and you can help with that if you follow the principles of NEW START – rest, sunshine, fresh air, drink a lot of water, cleanse your body and all of those. If we do those things, you would be dealing with the preventative issues so you wouldn’t have to go into the curative issues and the palliative care,” he said.
“We could then move $100 million to education and I wouldn’t have regularly to listen to your principal talk about ‘we need more buildings, we need more space, we need more resources’, because I can tell you out of that $100 million we would get from health, you would have more buildings, more resources, more teachers, more of everything. So in fact I want you to blame somebody for the school not getting more. We are going to blame you. You thought that I was going to blame the Minister of Health?” Jones added.
Jones advised the students to take responsibility for how they live, behave and treat the environment and not to smoke cigarettes or marijuana.
He also urged them to think positively and rid their minds of “trash and rubbish”, while leaving space only for “good things to come in”.
“We want you young people to be positive, to be determined, to be focused, and to let those things that are very positive flow into the mind so that you don’t have space in the head for those things which are negative,” the former teacher said.