Current Affairs

Current Affairs




PNP proposes values and attitudes in school curriculum
BYRON BUCKLEY, Senior political reporter
Tuesday, September 17, 2002



THE ruling People's National Party (PNP) has indicated that values and attitude would be included in the education curriculum from early childhood to tertiary levels -- an obvious response to a suggestion from Jamaica Labour Party leader, Edward Seaga that the curriculum lacked character building.

The PNP's education plans are contained in the party's election manifesto, which was unveiled yesterday during a hi-tech presentation at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston and, simultaneously, through satellite link at locations in Mandeville, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios.

According to Peter Phillips, chairman of the party's manifesto committee, the document, entitled 'Advancing the Quality Society', represented the views of the "widest main stream of Jamaican society". It was not, he quipped, the work of a guru working in a back room.

"We will ensure universal enrolment of all four-year olds in state-run educational institutions," said Phillips, as the party sought to re-establish ownership of the education issue.

The JLP's recent proposal to make secondary education free had placed the ruling PNP under pressure. In this regard the manifesto restated the PNP's decision to phase out tuition fees in secondary schools from 2003 to 2005.

Other education proposals contained in the PNP manifesto include:

* 100 per cent literacy for the school leaving population by 2007.

* High school diploma programme for persons outside of the formal school system.

* School incentive fund to reward schools for excellence.

* Mandatory five years of secondary education.

* Student's Loan concession incentive for trained graduate teachers.

* A new university for Western Jamaica

Education is one of five main planks on which the PNP rests its planned policies and programmes for another term in office, pending the outcome of the upcoming general elections. Other areas include economic transformation, law and order, governance and community development, and a strategic response to globalisation.

Regarding the matter of crime, which has dogged the administration for several years, the PNP acknowledged in its manifesto that there was no "quick fix solution" to the problem.

According to the manifesto the party plans, if it is returned to government, to continue pursuing three primary objectives.

The first is a systematic attack on the illegal drug trade and the accompanying increase in gun running and gang warfare. This includes close collaboration with international law enforcement agencies.

The other two objectives entail the recovery of guns that are already in criminal hands and the creation of harmonious relations between the police and citizens.

Crime fighting strategies, many of which have been implemented over the last 10 months, include the acquiring of security technology, equipment and infrastructure.

New crime fighting and public order strategies to be pursued include:

* Establishment of a new command centre.

* A central border control authority to secure the island's ports of entry.

* A new traffic management system

* A national study of the structure of the Jamaican drug industry and its effect on society.