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Addressing Behavioural Challenges: A Systems Approach

MOE News
Apr 26 2017

Coat of arms for Trinidad and Tobago

Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago



Education Towers, No.5 St. Vincent Street, Port of Spain, Trinidad

Phone: 868-622-2181

NEWS RELEASE             

Addressing Behavioural Challenges: A Systems Approach


The Ministry of Education wishes to take this opportunity to respond to statements made in an article entitled “We are breeding criminals” by Carol Matroo published on Tuesday 18th April, 2017 on page 3 of the Newsday.

• The claims made by Behaviour Change Consultant Franklyn Dolly that there is a school counsellor who comes into the school every two weeks to conduct a 40-minute session with a child and then sends the child back to the classroom is incorrect. In fact, the Ministry of Education has guidance officers and counsellors at every secondary school throughout the seven Education Districts. Additionally, students with concerns have the benefit of specialised intervention through the multi-disciplinary team (Guidance School Social Workers, Special Education Instructors, Clinical Psychologists and Behavioural Specialists). The Student Support Services Personnel provide a multi-disciplinary approach to treat with psycho-social, psycho-educational and psychological barriers to learning.

• The claims made by Mr. Dolly that parents are given appointments two years later are inaccurate. For high risk or critical cases, appointments are immediate and other referrals are treated on a priority basis. Additionally, home visits are conducted to facilitate further assessment.

• The Ministry of Education does not have a Guidance Clinic but provides guidance services throughout secondary and primary schools. Children are also referred to the Student Support Services Division (SSSD) by Children’s Authority, Child Guidance Clinic, the Courts, National Family Services and Community Liaison Officers, Police Youth Clubs, NGOs and CBOs. In terms of students with special needs, the Ministry of Education provides special education clinics in the Education Districts. • Mr. Dolly also suggested the creation of “some kind of holding bay”, however no mention is made to the already established Learning Enhancement Centres (LECs). Located in the Education Districts across the country, these centres continue to provide a safe and nurturing space for students who have committed infractions. At-risk students and students on extended suspension are assessed and a programme developed to address their social and academic needs. A total of 319 students and their parents have benefitted from attending the Learning Enhancement Centres. They now have the social and life skills to make responsible choices and avoid inappropriate behaviours. There are many success stories coming out of the LEC’s.

• The Ministry of Education wishes to reiterate the retention of 148 positions in the Student Support Services Division, as well as 100 Special Education Instructors towards the expansion of 299, and 225 Guidance Counsellors. The Ministry will also be seeking to increase the number of Student Support Services in the various disciplines, including the Development and Assessment Intervention Unit (DAI Unit) who play an integral role in supporting the success of the programmes and initiatives by the Student Support Services Division.

• The Ministry of Education continues to utilise the services of clinical and behavioural psychologists, employed by the Ministry of Education, both internally and externally.

• Through the School Based Management model, the Ministry of Education has improved its coordinated approach to early identification and intervention. The former Education Minister in his tenure said he “implemented a programme whereby every teacher in every classroom would identify the difficult students”, however, the need for the programme was identified, but never implemented. We remain committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment, conducive to the teaching/learning process. This is part of the government’s National Development Strategy toward producing a disciplined, caring, and tolerant society comprising healthy, happy and educated people.