Friday 18 October, 2019

British Council, GraceKennedy partner for boys mentoring programme

Keroma Bernard, Director at Bernard Sustainable Consulting, carried out mentoring duties during the 2017 Boys Can Mentoring Day activity.

Keroma Bernard, Director at Bernard Sustainable Consulting, carried out mentoring duties during the 2017 Boys Can Mentoring Day activity.

The British Council will be presenting their third annual Boys in Education Week from April 29 to May 2 May 2019, under the theme: “Boys Can” at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown, Kingston.

This year, the British Council is using their Boys in Education Week of activities as a precursor to their island-wide Boys Can Mentoring Programme.

With the support of the Grace & Staff Community Development Foundation, year one of this three-year programme is set to launch in May. The council will be working with more than 30 schools across the island to provide active mentoring for some of their most vulnerable male students.

“We also aim to address the wider issue of gender equity, with a view to demonstrating how engaging boys, contributes to a more egalitarian education system, for the advancement of both, boys and girls,” said Olayinka Jacobs-Bonnick, British Council’s Country Director for Jamaica. “

Through their "Creating Equity in Teaching" and Learning module, the Jamaica Teaching Council highlights that: “the concerns for the underperformance of boys have been expressed island-wide. The results of various formal examinations provide evidence that the education of boys is in a crisis… The question of why boys are underperforming within our school system has been linked to a number of factors including teaching methodology; socio-economic background; lack of communal support from parents and schools and structure of the education system insufficiently caters to the needs of young men.”

Tanketa Chance-Wilson, General Manager at Grace & Staff Community Development Foundation said the goal of the programme aligns with Grace & Staff’s core principle.

“GraceKennedy is firmly committed to the development of Jamaica’s youth, and given the current and ongoing widespread discussion about the range of influences faced by our young people, and our young men in particular, we realise our responsibility in helping them to be their best selves now, and set a solid foundation for them to grow,” she said.

The programme will feature more than 30 mentors across multiple career disciplines, each working with one school. Over the period of a year, mentees, mentors, teachers and parents will be taken through a programme to explore aspects of career development, emotional intelligence, leadership & confidence building, conflict management, communication and problem-solving skills.

For the 2019 Boys in Education Week, UNESCO has come on board as a strategic partner as the activities align with the work the organisation has been doing around masculinity.

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