Approximately 30,000 additional students, parents, and educators from 500 public schools are set to receive training in restorative justice practices during the current fiscal year.
The announcement was made by the Minister of Education and Youth, Fayval Williams, during her contribution to the 2023/24 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (May 17).
This initiative builds upon a memorandum of understanding signed in May 2022 between the Ministries of Education and Justice, which aimed to facilitate restorative justice training for parents, educators, and students from 207 public primary and secondary schools. As of the end of March 2023, over 5,000 stakeholders had already received training.
Williams emphasized the importance of restorative justice practices in equipping stakeholders within the education system with conflict-management skills as a strategy to reduce violence in schools.
She stated, “Restorative justice practices training is [intended] to equip stakeholders in the educational system with conflict-management skills as a strategy to reduce the incidence of violence in schools.”
In addition to the restorative justice training, Williams also addressed the Leadership for Safer Schools (LSS) initiative. She revealed that 58 school leaders have undergone training as part of this program, which is funded by the European Union’s (EU) Spotlight Initiative.
The LSS initiative is specifically designed to support school leaders in creating safe environments that reduce school-related violence and gender-based violence. Williams explained, “This course is designed to support school leaders in creating safe environments that will reduce school-related violence and gender-based violence.”
Highlighting the underlying principle of the LSS program, the Minister emphasized that interventions to address gender-based violence must be rooted in behavior change. This change is facilitated by the development of non-threatening school environments where the rights of children are respected and promoted.