Career & Education

Jamaica, USAID invest in US$4-million school safety project

Sunday, October 08, 2017

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Jamaica is to implement a US$4-million Improved Safety and Security in Schools Project aimed at reducing crime among the nation's youth.

The initiative, targeting youth between the ages of 10 and 29 years and including 981 primary and secondary schools and 50 communities, was launched during a breakfast meeting at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston last Wednesday.

It involves collaboration among the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Education Trust (NET).

The project will be undertaken over two years with US$3 million in funding from USAID and $1 million from the Government of Jamaica.

The specific objectives of the Improved Safety and Security in Schools Project include reducing violence and critical incidents among youth; reducing antisocial behaviour among youth; engaging more parents and communities in the behaviour change process; providing co-curricular activities that will engage students and assist them with developing better social and life skills; conducting data collection and analysis, along with monitoring and evaluating activities, which will continue to inform decision makers on the management of crime and violence, particularly among youth; and building capacity in the education ministry and its agencies.

At the launch, education minister Ruel Reid said education is one of the best ways to reduce crime in Jamaica.

He said research shows that increasing enrolment in secondary school reduces the risk of war. “Education fosters peace,” he noted.

Reid said, too, that not only will the project have a ripple effect on crime at the national level, but is a major investment in Jamaica's education system.

“We are here because we believe in the liberating force of education. Education is the safest investment. When you invest in education, you breathe life into people. Education opens up a world of possibilities. Its importance to human development cannot and can never be disputed,” he added.

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