Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 18, 2017 (SKNIS): The Ministry of Education is working to eradicate the infiltration of gang- related activities in schools in its efforts to safeguard the learning and teaching environment, says Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, William Vincent Hodge, on the government's radio and television programme "Working for You" on May 17.
One of the ways of curbing violent behaviour implemented by the Ministry of Education is by placing security guards at school entrances to conduct searches. According to the permanent secretary, security has been beefed up, especially at secondary schools, where each school has two security guards on duty, a male and a female.
"To some extent, it is a shame that we have to do that, but it is something that we need to do," Mr. Hodge said. "This came out of a number of incidents on the school premises in terms of students having this gang culture, this rivalry against each other between communities and so on."
Permanent Secretary Hodge said that the Ministry of Education is conducting a series of talks with students about anti-social behaviour and that he expects the principals to encourage these discussions with students in order to root out the undesirable behaviours. He also encouraged parents to provide the moral guidance that their children need.
He also mentioned that the Ministry of Education is collaborating with the church in dealing with the problem.
"We have tried to increase the presence of pastors and members of clergy to come into schools to do some biblical teachings in hope that the young people would listen and take heed to the Word of God and change some of these patterns," said Mr. Hodge.
Additionally, he said that security cameras have already been installed in some schools, and they will be installed in all of the secondary schools.
"I was at Cayon a couple of weeks ago and from the principal's office I was able to see exactly what was happening everywhere in the school," he said. "As principal, I never had that type of luxury, but as I was sitting, I felt secure and I think it was a good move.
Mr. Hodge said that the Ministry of Education has spent quite a lot of money in acquiring security cameras.
Also, he mentioned that night security will also be improved, which will include putting a system in place where night watchmen can clock their hours.
However, he emphasized that the Ministry of Education will not rest on its laurels because a lot of work is still needed to change the culture with respect to security and anti-social behaviour in schools, but that through dialoguing with students, and sound parental intervention, a lot can be accomplished in reversing anti-social culture.