Ministry of Education, Guyana

Tuesday, 16 October 2018 08:25

Importance of teachers, welfare officers in combatting drugs in schools emphasised

The Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU), in its fight against illicit drug use has highlighted the importance of the aid of teachers and welfare officers in detecting the use of narcotics within schools. The initiative, originally implemented in 2014, seeks to assist officials with the tracking of drug sources as well as to combat the issue of drug use among minors.

During a two-day consultation, CANU, the Narcotics Division of the Guyana Police Force and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), joined forces to train and equip teachers and welfare officers with the necessary skills to detect drug use in schools.
UNICEF Education Specialist, Ms. Audrey Rodrigues explained that the approach that needed to be taken could not have been done by just one agency, this in turn led to the collaboration of several agencies in combating the issue. She added that the goal of UNICEF and the Education Ministry is to provide safe school environments for students.
UNICEF in its Safe School Protocol, sets out standards and guidelines to promote practices, which will contribute to the good development of students’ welfare. The training of welfare officers and teachers in detecting drug use in students is expected to affect the education system greatly. She explained to the participants that the consultation provides them with a unique opportunity to review the Protocol and make submissions that can serve to improve it, so that it can benefit students, teachers, and welfare officers while making each party accountable for their actions.
The main training themes focused on drug types and classification, mental health, curriculum integration, addiction, identification of drugs, treatment programmes for children and conducting random inspections. Assistant Chief Education Officer (Primary), Mr. Owen Pollard, stated that the ministry has amplified its efforts through the establishment of a task force that includes enforcement agencies like the Guyana Police Force and CANU.
Deputy Head of CANU, Mr. Lesley Ramlall related that the use of synthetic drugs in the schools have gone up since 2017 whilst a decrease was seen in the use of cannabis, cocaine and alcohol. The training of welfare officers and teachers to detect the use of drugs within schools seeks to effect a great change in the development of students.


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