16 schools high-risk for violence


Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly.

A report submitted by the Ministry of Education for its second cross-discipline team meeting on violence in schools on Monday has identified 16 schools as high-risk.

A statement said Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly met with a cross-section of other ministers, including Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds; Minister of Youth Development and National Service (MYDNS) Foster Cummings; Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister responsible for Gender and Child Affairs Ayanna Webster Roy along with their technical teams and the TTPS Community Police.

The team reviewed the report to identify trends and analyse some of the root casual factors that contribute to indiscipline and violence in schools.

It said the 16 schools in the report exhibit at least two of the following characteristics:

  • a high percentage of form one students who scored under 30 per cent in the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exams
  • high levels of indiscipline
  • high absenteeism
  • low levels of Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) achievement.

It said at least seven of the schools showed all the characteristics.

“Today’s meeting centred around examination of the current systems and procedures in place for reducing school violence, and also identified the specific schools with high levels of violence, and the profiles of individual students who have been suspended multiple times,” said the statement.

Recommendations were reportedly made to improvethe effectiveness of measures to reduce school violence through the collaborative use of resources available in government agencies and ministries.

It said, having noted the recommendations, the ministry will invite the above-mentioned ministers, as well as the Secretary of the Division of Education, Research and Innovation in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), to nominate two representatives to the team.

It said the team will review and revise the existing police on reducing school violence.

“There is the need to address the problem with immediacy – and this is the context in which the team is asked to make its recommendations for amendment of the policy,” said Gadsby-Dolly.

The statement also said the ministry will interrogate the criteria used to define high-risk schools and compile more “granular” data on the type of support required by those students whose actions identify them as needing attention. Resource issues, it said, will also be addressed.

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