Gadsby-Dolly: We are facing a decay in morals

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Nyan Gadsby-Dolly –

AS the Ministry of Education grapples with school violence, the minister, Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, said it is important for agencies to place a greater focus on girls and other students in need of special mentoring.

A multifaceted intergovernmental approach could address this problem.

She was speaking at a forum on Friday at MIC, Macoya, to showcase the impact of the Military Led Academic Training (Milat) programme on young men,

Gadsby-Dolly lamented the recent school fights involving girls, saying this programme might be an ideal part of the solution.

She said the country is facing a “decay in the moral fabric of our society” and if it is allowed to develop the country will pay a high price.

Impressed by the transformative testimonies by Milat graduates who admitted to literacy and behavioural challenges before joining the programme, Gadsby-Dolly turned to the Minister of Youth Development and National Services Foster Cummings and Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds, asking them, “Can we have more Milat? Can we have Milat for the girls as well?

“If we want to keep this country in an upward trajectory, we must have more people that come from hopelessness to hope, from underachievers to achievers that are proud of themselves. That is the type of restoration that we need for so many young people that are scattered among our school population.”

Gadsby-Dolly said while she accepts that not every child that passes through the education system can do well, she is sure alternatives like Milat can meet the needs the ministry was unable to satisfy, “for those who need more support, those who need more guidance and mentorship.

“We need our children to find inspiration. We know they need an environment that they can feel hope. So, minister (Cummings), I am coming with the strength of these students who are always repeatedly on suspension, repeatedly out of their classes, repeatedly on extended expulsion.”

She said there are around 500 students who are repeatedly suspended.

“Expulsion and suspension are not the outcomes that we want for our children. If our children needs support (that) can be provided outside of the school, there needs to be an outlet for us to ensure we get that guidance and mentorship. A network needs to be spread around them. “Therefore the safety net that Milat provides, we must extend it, because more of our young people, boys and girls, need this level of care.”