Bisnauth takes hard line on discipline
Education Ministry to issue codes of dress, conduct

Stabroek News
April 13, 2000

In view of reports of violence and sexual misconduct in schools, the Ministry of Education will make discipline a priority this year, Education Minister, Dr Dale Bisnauth, said yesterday.

Delivering the main address at the opening of the Georgetown Education Department's Annual Science, Mathematics and Technology Fair at St Joseph's High School on Woolford Avenue, Dr Bisnauth said that the way students dress, the way they behave in the classrooms and on the streets will be closely monitored and taken into account.

He said that the ministry will shortly issue clear criteria to headteachers of all schools, on a dress code and code of conduct for all schools which students will have to observe. The codes, he said will be made "abundantly clear" to parents and guardians who will either abide by the rules or find alternative solutions for their children.

Dr Bisnauth, who was clearly concerned about the behaviour of some of the children at the opening of the three-day activity, admonished students who were wearing caps. Telling them that this denoted a lack of respect for their colleagues, teachers, parents and other invitees, he gave them the option of taking off their caps or leaving the premises.

He said that the ministry had to take serious measures to restore discipline in schools in the light of recent incidents, which have occurred in a number of secondary schools. He also referred to the Government Technical Institute incident, where a student was chopped by another.

Noting that in some inner cities in North America students have to pass a metal detector before entering the school building, the minister said that Guyanese students were not far from imitating their counterparts in North America. However, he expressed hope that "those days don't come here."

The minister, who was the last speaker to take the microphone to address the students, had to speak loudly and in a stern voice initially, to get them to lower the noise level and then to get his message over to them. Speakers before him, which included District Education Officer, Balram Inderjit, and a student of Bishops' High School, Tracy Ann Grandison, could not be heard clearly because of the noise level.

Dr Bisnauth said discipline had a direct bearing on the students' performance in and out of the classroom. When a student is disciplined as well as industrious, he said, that student had no time to misbehave.

He congratulated the students, parents and teachers who worked on or contributed to the exhibits on display at the fair.

The fair is being held under the theme 'Science and Technology - the Gateway to the 21st Century'. (Miranda La Rose)