National Parent Teacher Association (NPTA) president Zena Ramatali says her organisation fully supports the introduction of character education at all levels within the nation's education system.
The Character Education and Citizenry Development programme, which is to be introduced into the nation's schools, was launched last week by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar at the Hilton Trinidad.
On Monday, Ramatali said the NPTA, which was informed by the Ministry of Education on the introduction of the programme before it was launched, would support anything that they believe would benefit the children and the nation as a whole.
"We agreed with the additions of visual and performing arts, which was always part of the system. So we agree with the teaching of other subjects like the character education, which we believe will affect the values of students in a positive way.
"We have to teach our children these values from pre-school and I would like to see it go all the way up to tertiary education, because what is the purpose of education if you can't get along with people. If you can't work together with your peers, if you can't treat each other in a respectful manner, what is the purpose of education?"
Ramatali said while teachers concentrate on teaching the formal curriculum the NPTA believes that the hidden curriculum, which includes all areas of values, will help the children to become better citizens.
"A lot of parents are working, a lot of single parents do not have the time and we believe that the school must play a critical role at this time in our country. If parents are not discussing what it is to have a good character it is obvious that children are missing out so the school must be able to teach some of the values that are not being taught in the homes."
She said if children are taught in school to be forgiving and to say sorry, the gang warfare that is now present in the communities and the schools will cease.
"We believe that with the high percentage of bullying and indiscipline and violence, if children are taught character values they will be able to empathise with their schoolmates and be able to carry out random acts of kindness, not just at school but in the public. We will have better citizens in the long run and more peaceful communities."
Ramatali said these values have been taught in some denominational schools but the NPTA believes that it has been lacking in the Government schools.
"And we are pushing for this in all our Government schools across the country because it is the Government schools we are not doing a lot that is expected," she stated.