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Jamaica: Administrators complete online Child-friendly Schools Leadership Course



Signing of Agreement in June 2019 - JIS File Photo

#KINGSTON, Feb. 4 (JIS): Twenty-seven school leaders have been certified after completing the National College for Educational Leadership (NCEL) online Child-Friendly Schools (CFS) course.

The programme was offered in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The presentation ceremony was held on January 30, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston, under the theme ‘Developing Globally Responsible Leaders for Child-Friendly Schools: A Vision of Transformational Practice’.


Participants, who are from infant, primary and secondary-level public schools in the Education, Youth and Information Ministry’s six regions, learned about application of CFS principles to guide school design and construction; the principles of child-friendly schools; key characteristics of child-centred pedagogy; positive behaviours and a safe school environment, and leadership in child-friendly schools.

The course was held from November 1 to December 12, 2019.

Keynote speaker at the presentation ceremony, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Dr. Grace McLean, lauded the NCEL for developing yet another culturally relevant programme, which seeks to support the ongoing professional development of principals and improve the teaching and learning process.

Dr. McLean explained that child-friendly schools focus on children’s emotional, psychological and physical well-being.

“Under this programme, they are protected from verbal and emotional abuse and the trauma of sexual harassment, racial discrimination, prejudice or intrusion by teachers and peers. Child-friendly schools are child-centred and inclusive safe havens for our children,” the Acting Permanent Secretary said.

Meanwhile, Director/Principal, NCEL, Dr. Taneisha Ingleton, said in addition to creating safe, positive learning environments for children, the CFS Jamaica initiative is a response to the growing demand to leverage technology to reach every Jamaican child and to build the digital capacity of school leaders across the island.

UNICEF Jamaica photo – Back to School Sept 2019

“The programme seeks to support the professional development of principals, thereby providing readily accessible avenues for educators to retrieve and access digital content on child-friendly learning environment and processes,” the Director explained.

Deputy Country Representative, UNICEF, Vincente Teran, said the initiative seeks to give school leaders the support they need to create child-friendly schools.

“Over the past few months, we have used best practices and solid research to build the course. We built on UNICEF’s online global child-friendly school course to create the Jamaican leadership training component that focused on creating inclusive, gender-balanced and interactive child-friendly learning environments,” he said.

“It is our hope that this will have a national impact, because we firmly believe that the Principal sets the tone for the teaching and learning that takes place at any school. Strong Principals make strong schools,” Mr. Teran added.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between NCEL and UNICEF on June 4 last year. Under the $6-million agreement, course material content will be made available to school leaders free of cost.

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Caribbean News

Guyana to build regional food hub



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer


#Guyana, September 29, 2023 – Guyana is making moves to become the primary food production center for the Caribbean, going ahead with plans to develop a USD$14 million regional food hub.

In fact, as reported by the Observer, the facility has already been identified on the country’s Soesdyke /Linden Highway.

Guyana seems to really want this to become a reality and Zulfikar Mustapha, Agriculture Minister, expressed this, highlighting what Guyana has over its Caribbean sister Islands.

“We want Guyana to be the food hub, the primary production hub of the Caribbean so that we could supply the Caribbean.  What we have, our colleagues in the Caribbean don’t have.  We have arable flat land and abundant fresh water,” he said, adding that with the multi-million dollar US investment, the country can, “modernise the infrastructure, and start ramping up the productions.”

Also, the Agriculture Minister pointed out that the project is geared to make for a more competitive local Agriculture industry as well as developing high-yielding varieties, pest-resistant and climate-resilient varieties.

Additionally, in the facility’s development, Guyana, Mustapha said, will work with Belize.

In fact, with more on Belize’s involvement, Dr. Ashni Singh,  Finance Minister, informed that the Government is in talks with the Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley about sourcing inputs from northern Brazil and transporting them through Guyana to Barbados and vice versa.

Singh also reportedly revealed that the project will help develop the growing logistics industry in Guyana.

Considering regional food import cost, with this development, Guyana is the leading Caribbean Community country pushing ahead with plans to reduce the multi-billion dollar regional food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025, the Observer says.

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Caribbean News

Cayman makes striking policy change to include more blood donors



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer


#CaymanIslands, September 29, 2023 – The Cayman Islands overturned a policy that banned blood donation from people who visited the island from or resided in countries where “mad cow disease” existed. This was revealed by Sabrina Turner, Health Minister in Parliament, as reported by CNW Network.

People who resided in Britain from 1980 to 2001 and those who had blood transfusions in the UK after 1980, can now donate blood.

Due to recent risk evaluation, and the current protocol for blood donors, many nations, CNW reports, have re-evaluated and adjusted similar guidelines regarding blood donation, as Cayman Islands has now done.

The now initial restrictions on blood donations for the country was called for and was important as at the time of implementation, “mad cow disease” or as it’s scientifically called, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), was at-large affecting not just cows, but also people, who are able to contract “a version of BSE called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD),” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says.

The likely reason for the Cayman Islands’ targeted population of those affiliated with living in the UK or getting blood transfusion in the UK, was because most of the people with vCJD lived in the UK, as highlighted by the FDA.

Also, as BBC says in a 2018 report, 1 in 2000 people in the UK is thought to be a carrier of the disease, even though some who are carriers don’t go on to develop symptoms.

However, the change in Cayman Islands’ policy does not mean the disease is no longer out there.

In fact the FDA said, “as of 2019, 232 people worldwide are known to have become sick with vCJD, and unfortunately, they all have died.  It is thought that they got the disease from eating food made from cows sick with BSE. Most of the people who have become sick with vCJD lived in the United Kingdom at some point in their lives. Only four lived in the U.S., and most likely, these four people became infected when they were living or traveling overseas.”

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Caribbean News

Bwa Kalé movement striking back against gangs, nearly 3,000 murdered



Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 


#Haiti, September 29, 2023 – In eight months, nearly 3,000 Haitian people have been slaughtered in their home country due to the upsurge and uprising of gangs in the republic which is struggling to hold its democracy in check.

‘Bwa Kalé’, it’s a vigilante movement that has sprung up in Haiti, and the UN says it is driving up murders.

Born out of fear and distrust in the state according to the UN, the movement is a violent strike back against the gangs that are terrorizing residents.

A recent report following an expert visit detailed it.

“Certain groups have formed allegedly to protect their neighbourhoods from gangs.  In some instances, these groups have summarily executed people suspected of being gang members.  The Bwa Kalé movement demonstrates the population’s lack of trust in the State, especially in the police and the courts.  The expert has learned that some members of the police and the judiciary have been complicit with gangs.”

Despite the obvious fear among residents, the UN is warning them not to take justice into their own hands.  However, that is easier said than done as Haitians have demonstrated their feelings of abandonment by fleeing the island in mass numbers on illegal voyages and standing up to the gangs themselves.

In the same report, one said: “The State is absent, there are no police or other officials operating there.”

According to AP, a new report to the U.N. Security Council indicated that 2,728 intentional killings were recorded between October 2022 and June 2023, including 247 women, 58 boys, and 20 girls.  Bwa Kalé is blamed partially for the increase, as life in the country is described as unbearable.

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