The Ministry of Education in partnership with UNICEF continues to promote child protection strategies for use not just by parents but for students as well.
Over 7,000 students in both public and private schools in Grades 5 and 6 (primary schools) and Forms 1 and 2 (secondary schools) will receive an item bearing at least one of the child protection messages. These messages were placed on pens, rulers, pencils and book labels to sensitise students to what they should do when faced with situations that could threaten their safety and well-being.
The messages cover social problems such as child abuse, suicide and bullying. The messages include: 1. Get parents’ permission before going out; 2. It’s okay to tell a trusted adult if anything or anyone makes you uncomfortable; 3. It’s okay to tell if you or your friends are being treated badly; 4. Feeling down. Speak to an adult; 5. Talk it out. Violence solves nothing; 6. Peace begins with me; 7. Report a touch that makes me uncomfortable; 8. Use kind words and actions today.
In making a presentation to staff and students at one of the schools, Ms.Desiree Antonio, Education Officer and Child Friendly School Focal Point urged students to adhere to the messages for their own safety and protection. Cindy Price who also represented the Ministry of
Education explained the importance of the messages to the students and encouraged them to speak to an adult they trust if they experience problems.
The Ministry of Education has over the years been promoting practices which not only improve schools through various means but make it possible for students in Antigua and Barbuda to achieve their full potential and develop into responsible individuals within the twin-island nation.