Lewis says it will take comprehensive changes to enable education sector to achieve ‘Learning for Lasting Peace’

MP Richard Lewis has made a number of suggestions that could
strengthen the education sector; counter hate; reduce youth
violence; and foster a more harmonious society. But all these will
require a comprehensive approach, he says.
Lewis’ comments come on the heels of the International Day of
Education, which has been celebrated on January 24 for the last six
This year’s theme, “Learning for Lasting Peace,” was chosen by
UNESCO. Its main focus lies in countering hate speech and its
associated ills – discrimination, racism and xenophobia.

“While Antigua and Barbuda is, thankfully, not facing many of these
challenges, we are currently battling a rising tide of youth violence,
as many youngsters struggle to resolve conflicts in a peaceful
manner,” the Rural West representative says.
He adds that, in order to accomplish this year’s theme, students will
need to be empowered with knowledge, skills, and civic values that
lead to the type of behaviours that will foster peace – at school and
in the wider community. 

Taking a comprehensive approach to achieving these goals, MP
Lewis suggests that more resources – including counseling, mental
health resources, and conflict-resolution exercises – be deployed
across all levels of the education system. He also sees the need for
stronger social interventions and counseling for students who are
using marijuana.

Other areas in which the education system must invest more are
extracurricular activities, such as sports, arts, and music.
And, not overlooking the educators, Lewis – a former teacher,
himself – says these professionals should be better supported with
ongoing training, fair pay, and an enabling work environment, and
the Ministry of Education should be more sympathetic to their

Meanwhile, he adds, while parents need to build stronger
partnerships and cooperation with their children’s teachers. He
notes that discipline and support at home are critical to productive
learning and good social development – in particular, in cultivating
the important skill of conflict resolution.

When the authorities begin to take education seriously enough to
implement such comprehensive solutions, Lewis says, the desired
“Learning for Lasting Peace” will be realized and the level of
performance that is desired from students will be accomplished.