Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Senator Harcourt Husbands.

Some of those present at yesterday’s lunchtime lecture.

More can be done

Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Senator Harcourt Husbands, said there is weakness in the educational system as it relates to student support services.

Delivering the Astor B. Watts Lunchtime Lecture at the Democratic Labour Party’s headquarters yesterday afternoon, Senator Husbands said that in his opinion, this is one area in which the system is lacking. He said sufficient measures have not been put in place to help young people in general and es-pecially those who exhibit indiscipline or have challenges.

“The reality is that a lot of these young people who we say give trouble are children whose parents were on drugs before they were born. They have come into the world with tremendous difficulties.

We have to change the entire way we look at some of these young people,” he said.

Husbands added, “There maybe a few young people within our educational system who are diagnosed as schizophrenic, or there maybe a few young people in our educational system who may be diagnosed as sociopaths. These are important issues and we don’t have yet in this country, enough support services in the form of psychologists and people who have these skills to support these young people. They need a lot of support; they’re living in the middle of this time with drugs and violence and guns and they need support. Our educational system is now struggling to get up to the level required with the support that we need.”

However, the Parliamentary Secretary said it is not that they are not trying. He indicated that the Ministry has in recent times opened the New Horizons Academy, which is designed to give students who have exhibited deviant behaviour a second chance and there is also the A Ganar Programme. The latter seeks to build self-confidence, teamwork skills and employability of at-risk youth.

“But my point is, all that we have done is not enough for the challenges that our young people face and we have to do more,” he stated.

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