Ebanks noted his previous involvement in education-related entities such as the Education Council, community college board of governors (now UCCI), ICCI Board of Trustees and the Overseas Students Association.
“We have to look at discipline and misbehaviour and bullying in our schools,” he said. “When I walk around West Bay West, some parents tell me that they’re scared about their children going to school and especially having the younger children mixing with the older ones. We have to address that.”
Noting that Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly had implemented a teacher pay increase to $5,000 per month, Ebanks said the government must ensure teachers are paid well, have proper working conditions and have support from the government and parents.
“Teachers are those that build society, build future generations, and we have to make sure that they are taken care of,” he said.
Ebanks said it is critical to identify from a young age children with learning disabilities to stem issues like misbehaviour and poor academic performance.
On school integration, Ebanks said, “Mixing nationalities is a healthy thing. We have to have the space to do it, and we have to make sure that we’re using the facilities properly, but integrating schools is a proposal from my plan that I’m going to talk about a lot. I think it has a lot of value, and it’s going to be part of my education agenda for this country.”
In general, Ebanks said young people need a strong foundation from their families.
“It’s no secret that when you have a child who does not have parental support, that child is really of to a bad start,” he said. “We need to ensure that we give parenting skills, that parents are involved in the PTAs of their schools, and they’re there for their children.”
The 14th candidates forum hosted by the Chamber takes place Thursday, 24 March, and features candidates from West Bay South. The debates are posted on various media, including the Chamber’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.