A video of underaged children who appeared to be drinking alcohol during school hours has caught the attention of Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly.
In the 27-second video, about a dozen children are seen dancing while music plays in the background.
One boy who appears to be less than 10 years old holds a bottle looking like alcohol. He then drinks from it. A woman is heard saying, “That is what you have the children and them doing?”
An adult male looks on.
Speaking to Guardian Media, Minister Gadsby-Dolly said she could not verify the primary source of the video and therefore could not confirm who the children were, where they were from and whether the video was taken on a school day.
“I am also unable to confirm what they are drinking so I cannot comment on those issues more than to say that the use of obscene language if uttered by the children, is unacceptable,” Gadsby-Dolly said.
Asked what mechanisms are in place to ensure that students get their education, Gadsby-Dolly said an attendance accounting system is in place.
“It is critical that student attendance is taken for the purposes of accounting for our students. The Ministry of Education has asked for class attendance data to be taken daily online, and also that regular contact be maintained between teachers and parents whose children are receiving packages so we can account for the student engagement,” she added.
She noted that many parents do check in with their children during normal school hours to ensure that they are actually engaged in the teaching and learning process.
“This is to be encouraged. Our children do need the encouragement to persevere as they adjust to home-based learning,” she said.
She added that “law enforcement also plays an important role in creating the safety net by ensuring that our children are not engaged in nefarious or dangerous activities.”
“This period is fraught with difficulty, but it is important that we contextualize the experience- home-based learning is a temporary measure until we are able to reopen schools and educational institutions,” she said.
He added, “The reopening will come with its own difficulties, but face to face engagement within a school compound will alleviate some of the challenges which we now face.”
Meanwhile, president of the National Primary Schools Principals Association Lance Mottley said the video was definitely an issue for parents.
“This is a parenting issue and has to be addressed from their perspective,” Mottley said.
He added that there was only so much that principals could do especially outside of the physical school environment.”