BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - THE Ministry of Education is working to find the best solution on how to discipline students who floutg rules within the various educational institutions around the island.
This comes as a number of fights have been popping up around the Federation and students are engaging with police officers, with many of those skirmishes making rounds on social media and causing embarrassments for both the individuals’ school and the Ministry of Education.
“We take fights in school very seriously within the Ministry of Education and we try to provide as much security as we can within the schools. Obviously, there is not much or anything we can do for any incidents that happen outside of the school premises. These are not things that we can anticipate, but we are trying to respond as quickly as possible,” Education Minister Jonel Powell said in responding to a question at the recently held town hall meeting in Conaree.
Suspending a student is not the best option at this time, the Minister noted , as the disciplinary measure for the student might not be instilled at the time.
While describing the Federation as a progressive society, Powell reminded that the education system is that way as well, and making an arbitrary decision could have a long term impact on that child and others in St. Kitts and Nevis
“We are a progressive society and we have a very progressive education system. And as incidents come up we try our best to see how we can put reforms in place to work with these kids, because at the end of the day you don’t want to do something that will affect the rest of their lives,” noted Powell.
In a most recent video that made rounds on social media, a male student could be seen fighting with several police officers as they sought to calm him down from a brawl in which he he was engaged. At the same time, the student was not adhering to the officers as one of them could be seen holding him by the neck.
That also highlights the disrespect some students and many in the wider society have been portraying towards the police and other law enforcement agencies in St. Kitts and Nevis.
But many have declared that they have lost the trust they had in the police and it has trickled down towards some children in society.
The Police Force has however been working to mould and develop the minds of children though their Explorers Club programme, and That initiative has spread to a number of communities across the island.
But at the Ministry’ level, Powell revealed that they are working to put programmes in place to assist students in reform and identifying the problematic areas that need focus and working on solutions going forward.
In the larger context, the Minister pointed out that he has a major problem with those persons who are outside of the school system influencing the children and the incidents of conflicts occurring within the schools.
“This is something that I am currently looking into to find out where the breakdown is coming from. I agree with you that it does not look good, but it is something that we are working with the schools on,” he added.
While speaking at the meeting, a suggestion of having students do community service as part of their punishment was acknowledged by the Minister, but he pointed out that the teachers might not be the best persons to oversee the remedial exercise.
“I appreciate the comment that if you are going to suspend them from school you put them to some work, manual or otherwise. Our teachers are already under pressure and overworked, and I am not sure they are the correct ones to do so. But at the same time, but at the same time, what we have come to understand is that suspending a child from school does not necessarily do anything,” noted Powell.
The incidents of fighting within schools is nothing new, but governments and education officials have found it a challenge to combat in recent years.