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Parenting body starts working this year

BY BALFORD HENRY Observer senior reporter

Sunday, September 30, 2012 | 5:23 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica - Minister of Education, Ronald Thwaites, says that funds have been allocated to start work on the National Parenting Support Commission this financial year.

"The Ministry of Education does have funds budgeted for this year that can begin the implementation of the National Parenting Commission and the advertisements for the appropriate officers and the requirements will be done in short order," Thwaites said.

He was closing debate on the National Parenting Support Commission Act under which a Commission is to be established with to oversee the implementation and operation of a National Parenting Policy.

Speaking in the debate, Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, Damion Crawford, described the policy as a step in the right direction.

Crawford suggested that the policy look at a “fee-for-effort” programme which would allow parents who cannot afford to pay the auxiliary fees charged by schools, to contribute their skills toward the fixing of some of the physical and other problems facing the institutions.

He also suggested having a cadre of volunteers as parenting mentors, to assist parents in accessing information on best practices in raising their children.

"It is my view that once some of these things are implemented...we will be able to see the movement of more of our children from a state of natural dependence to a state of cultivated and achieved independence," he said.

The National Parenting Policy seeks to define effective parenting from a Jamaican perspective, and sets out the Government's approach to supporting and strengthening positive parenting practices. It is also expected to facilitate the development of an enabling environment in schools and communities to improve those practices.

The Bill was first introduced by former Minister of Education, Andrew Holness, in 2011 and was reintroduced by the current administration this year. It is expected to be debated by the Senate on Friday.

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