The British Council kicked off its ‘Boys in Education Week’ on Monday (April 30) with an empowerment session for educators.
At the event, held at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston, teachers from across the island were provided with appropriate tools and tips that they can use in their classroom lessons to improve the learning outcome for boys.
In her address, Country Director for the British Council, Olayinka Jacobs Bonnick said the underperformance of boys in school is a global issue, adversely affecting the future prospects of the male gender.
“We are working with you to identify the best way forward. This is really about collaboration between the United Kingdom (UK) and Jamaica to identify solutions, not just for our boys here but also in the UK. The issue of boys in education is not only one of equality, but of inclusion,” she said.
She argued that because boys “are not completing their education in the way we know is best for them, they are not included in our economic and social systems, resulting in violent crimes and other unfortunate situations for them”.
Mrs. Jacobs Bonnick said that during Boys in Education Week, key players will be brought together to provide solutions and assist teachers, parents and other stakeholders who play a key role in the holistic development of boys.
“We know you have the tools and that you have been doing tremendous work already, but we recognise there is a need for support for building capacity in this area,” she noted.
Boys in Education Week is being held from April 30 to May 3 under the theme ‘Supporting a Nation of Champions’, and involves support from the Jamaica Teaching Council (JTC).
Other activities for the week include an ‘Empowering Parent’s Seminar on May 1 where participating parents will be equipped with the skills to motivate their boys as they move through their secondary education.
The day will incorporate a ‘Parenting for Success’ seminar with the British Council’s UK Facilitator, Dr. Tony Sewell; 2014 Rhodes Scholar, Timar Jackson; and Principal of Jamaica College, Wayne Robinson.
On May 2, at least 50 boys drawn from several schools will benefit from mentoring by leaders and professionals.
This will be followed by the Careers Speed-Mentoring Day for boys and girls on May 3. Professionals from various organisations will engage the boys in one-on-one sessions aimed at steering them towards achievable goals, engendering more confidence in their ability to contribute responsibly to society, while creating a safe space for dialogue and sharing new ideas.
Boys in Education Week, now in its second year, is a precursor to a three-year programme that the British Council will be implementing in collaboration with the JTC.
The Council will be launching a mentoring programme in September under the initiative.
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. It operates in 110 countries around the world.