This is Youth Month, and there is an important conference taking place next week. This is happening in the context of ongoing violence against children, social media “outrage” over graphic viral videos showing child abuse, and an endless debate about what is called “corporal punishment.” (Why do we always think of children in terms of “punishment” and “discipline”?)
Here is the joint press release from three non-governmental advocacy organisations, who are being supported by the energetic State Minister for Youth, Floyd Green.
November 23, 2017
National Youth Conference To Tackle Youth Rights in Schools
A National Youth Conference will be staged on November 27, 2017 under the theme Youth Voices Count at the Jamaica Conference Centre. The conference will bring together various youth and student groups, educators, government representatives, and civil society groups to address pressing issues facing Jamaica’s youth and identify actionable solutions. The conference is staged jointly by the Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network (JYAN), Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ), and the USAID-funded FiWi Jamaica Project, with participation from the State Minister of Education, Youth and Information, the Hon. Floyd Green.
Diverse youth issues to be addressed
Youth Conference 2017 will explore concerns with disciplinary practices in the home and school, discrimination in the enforcement of school rules, and schools’ regulations of grooming amidst implementation of the Ministry-led Grooming Policy. Moreover, in light of Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ recent statements on the abolition of corporal punishment, this platform will allow young people to voice their opinions about alternative forms of punishment and ensure that disciplinary measures are not abusive or degrading. The conference will also focus on youth participation in decision-making within the educational sector. This comes at a time when a recent report from Jamaicans For Justice has highlighted that some student leaders have faced obstacles in exercising their legally protected rights to participate on school boards.
Youth Conference 2017 will explore adolescent sexual and reproductive health, including their exposure to and knowledge of Comprehensive Sexuality Education, which is encompassed in the Health and Family Life Education Curriculum. This extends to the nature of the curriculum, its relevance to adolescent development and the effectiveness of its method of delivery. This is important given the recent social media trends that have dominated secondary institutions across the island and will provide adequate insight into adolescent interactions, their social media use and their general sexual and reproductive development. Such a conversation provides an intersectional approach that will create linkages between bullying, child abuse, the digital age and managing self.
The conference will feature contributions from the State Minister and other government officials as well as a range of civil society and youth groups. The conversation will also include school administrators and their perspectives regarding their roles in advancing the rights of students. These conversations will facilitate a timely narrative especially given the fact that November is celebrated as Youth Month under the theme, Substance Ova Hype.
For further information, contact:
Policy and Advocacy Officer
The Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network