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Ministry Pushes Stay In School Campaign

The Ministry of Education pushing its campaign to encourage students to stay in school in an effort to deter children from falling prey to violence and affiliating themselves with gangs.

At a special assembly recently at Uriah McPhee Primary School, Chief School Attendance Office, Anzlo Strachan said that through bringing the message to the primary school level first, it plants the seed for their future.

“We are trying to encourage kids to stay in school and to come to school early as well as come to school every day.

“We have had a problem in New Providence, in particular, where it appears as if a lot of kids do not take their education seriously and not even the parents to a certain extent. So, we decided to put our program into the primary school area because the young kids are a little bit more flexible than the older ones and instill the message into them.

“Plant a seed today that yes, school is very important,” Mr. Strachan said.

Mr. Strachan stated that although it may be a stay in school campaign, there is an underlying message that the ministry hope will reach the students as well.

“We are also really looking at stemming this tide of violence, and with a good education there is no need to go out there and to rob, to gang bang and to do all the other things that they’re doing.

“That is really the underlying goal behind the message of stay in school. It’s really to prevent the violence that we have out there and that yes education isn’t just important, but it is a means to an end,” Mr. Strachan said.

During the special assembly, Mr. Strachan told the students at Uriah McPhee that although there may seem to be a good look to being a part of the ‘in crowd’ or ‘gang banging’, it is not the way to succeed in life.

“You know, selling drugs can get you killed. Yea [it] may look glamorous at the beginning but it is really not the way to go.

“Despite the fact that you may have friends and people in the neighborhood and sometimes even family members  who tell you that no you cannot accomplish this, you need to really set a goal and each of us has a gift and school is the place where you can nurture that gift,” Mr. Strachan said.

As  to what he anticipates the campaign to achieve, Mr. Strachan said that the ultimate goal is to have students know that education is important.

“I expect this campaign to really encourage kids to know that yes, education is significant.

“You  just don’t go to school for no reason [or] just to go to school because mummy or daddy said so, there is a means to an end,” Mr. Strachan stressed.

Uriah McPhee school principal, Mrs. Loretta Smith said that the campaign was a good one.  However,  she noted that the difficulty with the school she has been the principal at for seven years is punctuality.

“Our attendance is not bad, but there are some children who are chronic persons who are absent and then we need to work on our punctuality.

“Reading is the first subject most of the time on the timetable, it’s either reading or Math, and if children come to school 10 o’clock [or] 10:15, it really affects their academic progress, because by the time they come 10 o’clock [or] 10:15 reading is over, Math is over.

“Those are the key subjects if you learn how to read,  you can almost master any other subject. So, what we are trying to do is pull up our academics and so we want our children to come to school and we also want them to come on time, so that they do not miss anything,” Mrs. Smith said.

Mrs. Smith acknowledged  however, that punctuality is not always the student’s fault and had some advice for parents.

“Advice to parents: send your children to school or bring them to school every day.  Make sure they are on time, properly dressed and fed.

“Make plans the night before, because what I find that parents know,  we have many places that sell cheap breakfast.  So  parents are now just giving their children money to just buy the breakfast

“Children leave home late,  so they can’t stop to buy breakfast,  because while you eating your breakfast and buying your breakfast school is going on.

“So, parents need to plan ahead of time so that they know either they are going to send them early so they can have sufficient time to purchase the breakfast and eat it or they are going to fix the breakfast at home so that they can come to school on time,” Mrs. Smith suggested.

Endorsing the message during the campaign are Bahamian rappers Neil Cartwright aka ‘Nassaw’ and Jesna Dalmont aka ‘Mr. Jay’.

The campaign is expected to make its way into the Junior High schools in the coming months.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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