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History of Jamaica's Values and Attitudes Program

History of Jamaica's Values and Attitudes Program

Values and Attitudes Program - Jamaica WI -1993-1994

?Changes in values, norms and mode of behaviour have undermined the old authority systems without a new and coherent authority system to replace it. A new system of values has to be established.? - a paper by the late Prof. Carl Stone of Jamaica. Recognition is increasing that the missing dimension in educational systems is the lack of focus on the affective domain. Actions are guided not only by our heads (intellectual ability, cognitive) but also by our hearts (compassion and empathy, affective). In fact, values cannot really be taught, as they are mainly transmitted through life?s experiences. Values have traditionally been transmitted by parents and the communities through example within society. The call for values in education is actually once again asking educators to be the heroes - to fill the void within society. The call is asking educators to be leaders in recognizing that technology and materialism is not enough. As educators we have the power to facilitate the development of universal values and to reconnect with the values of our culture and the universal values that unite us all.

The 5th Regional Consultation on Values and Attitudes Conference was held in Montego Bay on June 29, 1994. Approx 1,000 people attended. Planning for the consultation was by Regional Committee chaired by Rev Dr George Simpson.


Values, Norms and Personality Development in Jamaica

Prime Minister P. J. Patterson receiving a copy of the Living Values book from Sister Chirya.The National Government of Jamaica headed by Prime Minister P. J. Patterson recognising the importance of value education met together in the early 1990's in a series of meetings in the different parishes to develop a Values and Attitudes program for Jamaica. The Prime Minister was most enthused and pleased to receive a copy of Living Values book .

Honorable Prime Minister P. J. Patterson

The purpose of these meetings was to give practical expression to the need to restore a sense of decency in national life, to exercise discipline and to conduct our affairs based on the Christian principles of loving our neighbor as ourselves. To halt the indiscipline, incivility and violence each person need to do the most vigorous self-examination. Attitudinal change with humility ?let it begin with me?. The need to work toward a ?Citizens Charter: setting our rights, responsibilities, expectations an obligations. These would also compliment something that is being undertaken at the regional level. Arising from a report of a committee chaired by Sir Shridath Ramphal, CARICOM has accepted the need for a charter of civil society. The charter, would incorporate fundamental rights and freedoms that are obtained in existing international and regional human rights instruments. The PM said that the response to his call for a renewal in values and attitudes has been overwhelming. So far, in 1994 five workshops have been held and they have produced an extraordinary range of analyses and recommendations. He explained that Jamaicans cannot continue as it has in the past. The time has come when the entire country of Jamaica must say to those who are doing wrong ?enough is enough?. The PM concluded by challenging all Jamaica to play a part in this crusade, it is time to stand up for what is right, proper and correct.

During these Regional Consultations on Values and Attitudes the following areas were chosen to be developed with values based programs:

Government Level:

  • family life education in schools to be improved
  • devotion to be held in all schools
  • censorship of TV programs
  • censorship of DJ lyrics
  • production of more local and educational programs for TV
  • programs in schools to build children?s self worth and self esteem
  • provision of more job opportunities in rural areas
  • increase resources to agencies working with families
  • family centres to be provided in the communities
  • suggestion that the whole community provide the stability of family

Youth: Ages 15-30

  • Empowerment: a feeling of being in control of one?s destiny. .
  • Conflict Management - Recommendations included:
  • People be taught to deal with fear, to respect self and the views of others
  • Need for the improvement of living, working and traveling conditions
  • Conflict management be taught at all levels.
  • A community agency be established to deal with conflict
  • Sports programs be implemented.
  • The media be used in projecting acceptable ways in which conflicts can be

Tourism and Education:

  • Recommended that:
  • The Jamaica Tourist Board should be involved in education program
  • Tourists be taken into the communities
  • The meet the people program should be reintroduced
  • On the job training for workers in the industry including attitudes to visitors.
  • Environment
  • Squatting

The media has been bashed for bombarding the public with negatives



  • Recommended that family life education programs in schools to be improved
  • churches to play a role in developing morals and attitudes
  • devotions to be held in all schools: no separation of church and state in Jamaica
  • programs shown on TV should be censored
  • DJ lyrics to be censored
  • more local and educational programs to be introduced and broadcast on TV
  • introduce programs in schools to build children?s self worth and self esteem
  • more job opportunities
  • more resources to agencies working with families, SDC and Family Planning Board

To date Jamaica has made great strides in all these areas to improve the quality of life for all Jamaicans here and abroad.


Minister of Education: Mr. Burchell Whiteman


The teachers should know and develop themselves well in order to be able to transmit values to children and help them move toward the 21st century, seeing it as a time of freedom, justice and dignity. Children then naturally take in values for themselves. To help students discover values to be an intrinsic part of life, that gives purpose and meaning to his or her actions. Such cooperation will enable education to become the driving force to fulfill children's hopes and dreams and to bring a better world closer to all people


Dr Simon Clarke, advisor to the Minister of Education and former Director of UNESCO, Caribbean

Dr Simon Clarke, advisor to the Minister of Education and former Director of UNESCO, Caribbean ?Man alone is capable of turning his strength against himself. Only the human race is capable of destroying itself precisely because it has lost its capacity for self regulation.? There is a great deal of evidence to support the belief that human violence is not in-born but learnt. Children tend to grow more aggressive by learning that behavior from their parents and others supporting the perception that violence engenders violence. It is also felt that children exposed to TV violence and certain loud rhythms have a tendency to use violence as a way of solving their conflicts.

Dr. Clarke indicated that UNESCO is very interested in this program for social renewal and that a number of other countries, recognising the need for this renewal, were following Jamaica?s initiatives


Mrs. P. Crossman, Principal Rusea High School 

?All well-thinking Jamaicans welcomed the Prime Minister's call for a rethinking of, and a change in, our values and attitudes and .....a return to an acceptable value system. The target group was the young people but all had a part to play in order for our nation to return to good values. ....One cause of this decline in standards was the breakdown in family life ..partly due to migration of parents in pursuit of economic gains, leaving behind poorly supervised children, teenage mothers/parents, irresponsible fathers. These parents lacked parenting skills and were unable to pass on to their children the proper values and attitudes."


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