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Jones: Step up, parents


MIKE KING

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MINISTER of Education Ronald Jones is urging parents to step up to  the plate to confront  the menace the cellular phone fever is posing  to their children.And he says by the end of the term, every single parent will receive a brochure outlining the rules on cellphones  in schools.Delivering the keynote address at a graduation for theological students and a thanksgiving service for benefactors of Codrington College yesterday, Jones said he was concerned that over half a billion dollars was pumped into education annually only to be frittered away “by persons who can’t settle down in any classroom”.Before an audience that included Archbishop John Holder, former bishop Rufus Broome and  ex-Cabinet minister  Sir Frederick Smith,  Jones said parents needed to understand the uncontrolled use of cellphones could have on primary and secondary schoolchildren.“We can’t have our young people caught up  in all kinds of behaviours that are not good for them as individuals. They are using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to transfer images that they don’t understand and when they come across an image, it just spreads like fire on dry grass.“I love the use of technology, but I am an adult and I know how to take the decision as to what flows into my being, but many of our young people, six, seven, eight years-old, have not reached that maturity to be facing the barrage of what they have to face,”  he said.The outspoken minister said he had an unequivocal position on the use of cellphones within schools and would not retreat.“I keep telling people  I am not a politician,  I am a community worker. Sometimes we make measurements as ‘if I do this, I am not going to get that vote’.“Let me say I don’t worry about the vote, because if I worry about the vote, then I slip, the country slips and all of us are destroyed. Somebody has to step to the plate and say enough is enough.  “I have been challenged to work with young people as Minister of Education and therefore I don’t apologise.“The phones are yours, keep them at home. Do not bring them into the school,” he said.Jones told budding priests and their relatives the modern-day technology and its spin-offs presented a far different challenge  to yesteryear. “It isn’t the black-and-white television with everyone sitting around it anymore. It is every child with a cellphone with technologies that are way beyond what the black-and-white TV had,”  he said. The minister said the major reason for attending school was to learn values and be enriched in education rather than “having a cellphone for cheating in an exam, to provide pornography or all manner of negatives”.
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