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US$2M to fight school violence

By RESHMA BAAL Wednesday, February 9 2011

click on pic to zoom in
School's success:  IDB president Luis Alberto Moreno, centre, listens to Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh, left, as he is shown trophies won by st...
School's success: IDB president Luis Alberto Moreno, centre, listens to Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh, left, as he is shown trophies won by st...

In light of rising violence among students at the nation’s schools, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has funded US$2 million to the Citizens Security Programme (CSP), for the implementation of a school violence prevention programme.

“Although incidents of violence in schools are nothing new, it was nothing like what we are seeing now, so programmes such as this is necessary,” Minister of Education Dr Tim Gopeesingh said at the launch of the project yesterday at Success/ Laventille Secondary School, Eastern Main Road, Laventille. IDB president Luis Alberto Moreno was present for the launch of the programme.

The pilot phase will involve four schools which are located in crime hot-spots in Trinidad and Tobago. The schools are Belmont Boys’ RC School, Success/ Laventille Secondary School, Belmont Secondary School and Morvant/Laventille Secondary School.

Gopeesingh said the project was aimed at reducing indiscipline and violence in schools and communities.

He said his ministry has put together a task force to “look at all the significant recommendations which have been made to the ministry in the hopes of addressing violence in schools located in high risk areas.”

On February 3, a gun was found in the school bag of a 14-year-old St Augustine Secondary School student. The revolver was allegedly found by police who visited the school after receiving a tip-off which resulted in the student’s eventual arrest.

This incident was one in a series of violent incidents plaguing schools.

Programme Coordinator of the CSP Gregory Sloane-Seale said the CSP was meant to reduce crime and violence in 22 high-risk communities in Trinidad and Tobago.

“The CSP partner communities represent ten percent of the entire population of the country,” Sloane-Seale said.

Gopeesingh said the project will be carried out in three phases, over a one-year period.

“The first phase will involve workshops for violence reduction and prevention at the schools, the second phase will be to upscale the workshop to all secondary schools, while the third and last phase will be to introduce violence prevention into the school’s curriculum,” Gopeesingh said.

Gopeesingh said when he assumed responsibility for the Ministry of Education, the ministry had an allocation of US$63 million from the IDB which was to be used in five different areas.

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