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PS appeals for parents to get involved in curbing school vandalism

PS appeals for parents to get involved in curbing school vandalism

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The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education is appealing to parents to encourage their children to respect school property by refraining from vandalism.{{more}}

Nicole Bonadie-Baker explained that too much money has been spent over the years making repairs to schools that could have been avoided if students had refrained from writing graffiti on walls or damaging fixtures and fittings.

“It all starts at home,” pointed out Bonadie-Baker. “I do not believe that the child who is taught at an early age, in the home, to respect others and their property, will turn around and vandalise public or private property belonging to another.”

She further explained that when teachers catch students committing acts of vandalism, it is often difficult to get support from their parents on the matter.

“It’s a struggle and sometimes appears to be a losing battle, but it is one that must continue to be fought.

“I don’t see a disconnect between school, community and the home. They are all responsible for teaching values and… shaping character,” said the permanent secretary.

“Ultimately, the mindset of Vincentians in general has to improve and there has to be a deepening of individual and national pride… for us to see change.”

Bonadie-Baker said that the biggest problem regarding parental involvement is that too many people are of the opinion that school/government property should be repaired and replaced by the Government “regardless of who destroys same.”

The capital budget allocation for school furniture and equipment has been significant, with furniture being procured on an annual basis and distributed to schools during the commencement of the new academic year.

Charged with maintaining 19 secondary and 57 primary schools and 14 learning resource centres throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines, the Ministry of Education and personnel at BRAGSA often find it “frustrating,” having to repeatedly make repairs caused by vandalism.

Bonadie-Baker said that even though the Government budgets and obtains external funding for repairs and maintance of schools, it is with the expectation that any repairs made will last for a reasonable time.

However, with such rampant vandalism, this means that the funds to make repairs are dwindling.

Headmaster of the St Vincent Grammar School Curtis King agreed that more parents need to get involved.

“We can try as much as possible at school, but if the support is not there from the homes and general community, we would only make a small impact,” he said.

King announced that he is doubling efforts to preserve furniture, fixtures and fittings at his school with a “zero tolerance policy” towards school vandalism. Students will not only be made to pay for any damage they cause, they will also be suspended.

Bonadie-Baker pointed out that the Caribbean Examinations Council had recently lauded the Ministry on SVG’s achievements at all levels of external examinations in comparison to regional averages.

“One would hope that improved learning outcomes will translate to heightened awareness of the need to care and preserve that which is provided for the continued upliftment of all beneficiaries of the education system,” she commented.

“Students… must be properly accommodated and have access to functioning equipment, and so must their teachers.”(JSV)

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