Written by 4:14 pm Art

#BTColumn – Responding to young men’s challenges

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the creator(s) don’t represent the official position of Barbados TODAY. 

by John Goddard

At the tip of the article entitled “aspects contributing to negative behaviour amongst young Barbadian males”, I promised to supply some suggestions on how we may rescue our young men from a lifetime of deviancy and crime.

We’d like to start out with our college age population in an try to significantly reduce the potential recruits to the gang culture in addition to to assist the kids eschew violence as an answer to conflict.

Just before COVID struck, the Anglican Commission on Justice, Human Rights and Social Responsibility, under my chairmanship, devised a comprehensive programme, entitled “Empowering our Youth for Positive Living”.

It involved the church working with parents, schools, police, relevant government social agencies, NGO’s, entertainers and the media to succeed in at-risk young people and encourage them to have interaction in positive activities. Such a programme is badly needed and needs to be implemented as soon as possible.

The house should be on the forefront of any attempt to save lots of our young people. I actually have noticed, of late, an increasing variety of fathers spending time with their children. That is to be encouraged, but what’s much more necessary is the type of home environment provided by parents for his or her offspring. Easy things can have a significant impact on children’s behaviour. For instance, a priceless lesson in honesty will be taught by insisting that children not bring home things that don’t belong to them and by teaching them to not take money or other items they see at home without asking.   

PAREDOS is doing an excellent job in teaching parenting skills, but their effort must be supported by the church and the college. Parenting needs to be a part of the programme in Sunday school, Confirmation class and church youth groups.

Churches may additionally invite, occasionally, to debate parenting with congregations during Sunday worship.

Age appropriate parenting skills should be included within the Home and Family Life Education course at each primary and secondary schools.

The Ministry of Health should include parent educators within the team which counsels moms at pre and post- natal clinics.  Their role can be to show parenting skills to moms, and fathers, in the event that they can be found.

Given the variety of Barbadians below the poverty line, Government, with the help of the social partners, should move with dispatch to do whatever is feasible to be certain that no home in Barbados is left without a minimum of one employed member. Such an initiative can be aimed toward reducing the variety of young people, especially males, whose condition of privation makes them easy targets for criminals who might lure them into crime with the promise of cash and other material goods.

It is clear that poor education is a significant contributory factor to the extent of delinquent behaviour we’re witnessing. Notwithstanding the love affair many Barbadians have with the Common Entrance Examination, its role in producing feelings of failure and disillusionment amongst a big number of scholars can’t be gainsaid.

It must be abolished in favour of a system of transfer which builds quite than destroys the arrogance and self-esteem of ALL our kids.

I’d suggest making about three of our secondary schools sixth form colleges and zone the others to which students can be transferred in keeping with where they live. This could mean that children of various abilities can be educated in the identical school, although not necessarily the identical forms. Each of the colleges must, after all, be given the vital teaching and material resources for it to cater to the needs of its student population.

At the very least one Technical/Vocational Institute is required for college kids who, after third form, show the will and aptitude for such courses of study. Along with the areas of specialisation, students needs to be required to review English, Maths, Information Technology and Civics.

Two goals will be achieved in consequence of those changes. The notion of excellent school and bad school which presently exists will probably be, eventually, erased, and, secondly, primary schools will probably be free of having to think about a single exam in English and Mathematics and allowed to spend time attempting to satisfy the person needs of kids.

Diagnostic testing and remediation should turn out to be essential parts of the college programme, and the curriculum  broadened to incorporate Art, Drama, Dance, Civics, Oral Spanish, clever use of technology, Agriculture and Health Science. Assessment at 10 or 11 can be for the aim of determining if pupils are ready for transfer to secondary level quite than which school they’ll attend. My view is that primary education can and should be made relevant and interesting. Under the current system, many students, by age 11, are burnt out, turned off from formal education or each.

I advocate for social staff to be attached to primary and secondary schools to discover and address negative behaviours early.

Compulsory youth service needs to be a requirement for young school leavers who are usually not employed or enrolled in tertiary institutions. We cannot afford to have strong young adults day by day wasting time on the blocks and roaming the streets with nothing constructive to do.

Our entertainment artistes and the media must promote healthful music which frowns on lewd behaviour and violence. We’d like to encourage singers and speech artistes to provide positive and empowering lyrics.

At the same time as we try to stop school children from embracing negativity, we still need to reply to the violence perpetrated by those that have already turn out to be criminals.

Police should be higher remunerated and resourced. Meeting the needs and improving the conditions of policing should make the Police Service more attractive to those serious about a rewarding profession. Shortage of manpower makes it difficult for the Service to expand the strategies vital for effective policing.

Finally, it is obvious that placing scanners on the Bridgetown Port isn’t enough to curtail the entry of guns. New and progressive methods should be found to scale back the variety of illegal guns on the streets of Barbados.

One method which right pondering residents should support is permission for random stops and searches by the police. A bit of inconvenience is to be preferred to shootings and stabbings by those that don’t have any value for all times.

Barbadians cannot sit idly by and watch our young males destroy their lives. Government, the private sector, the church, the college, parents and civil society must work together to rescue the youth.

John Goddard, retired but at all times an educator.

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