With domestic violence becoming widespread across the country, especially violence against women and girls peaking in recent years, a psychologist who recently earned a Masters in Science and in counselling psychology has noted that she believes self-defence should be taught in schools across the country.This was shared by Raiza Khan during an exclusive interview with Guyana Times on Tuesday.Psychologist Raiza KhanAccording to the psychologist who has been in the field for close to two years, there is a need for self-defence to be taught, as its benefits can be multi-fold.Khan explained, “Often times a lot of the Government organisations and a lot of the schools, what we would encourage them to do is as much psycho-social training and psycho-social programmes, something as simple as developing your sense of identity… I think that what needs to be understood is that self-defence can be helpful in terms of developing empowerment and healthy and active children just like the same reasons you would offer physical education and dance classes and track and field”.She noted that while the Government may already have provisions for classes which may include physical health and wellbeing, what is urgent to be addressed is how children own up to uncomfortable situations which they may not necessarily be brave enough to talk about, although being encouraged to do so.In fact, the psychologist pointed out that the classes which may very well help a child when they age, is really not intended to help fight violence with violence but rather to engage youths on understanding that you can be prepared for an assault since self-defence techniques are not only used when a person’s boyfriend or girlfriend hits them.Important to note is that these classes, she pointed out, can also help to fight crime as many times persons are attacked and are unable to defend themselves.Khan argued, “Self-defence is not only used against your domestic violence partner but we do have crime and women are pick-pockets and men are pick-pockets and young children are attacked on the streets, so it would more be for self-development and being able to protect yourselves from other circumstances not to be used in the case of (only) violence against women”.She alluded to the fact that there needs to be a more holistic approach to understand where violence comes from and what the other party actually sees in the other person while trying to be possessive and how to deal with insecurities.According to her, just as other life skills are being taught in schools such as Home Economics, classes should also be developed geared towards tackling peer pressure, depression and even mental health, as well as dealing with anxiety.“We talk about diabetes, we talk about other forms of medical conditions but we are not talking about mental health in schools,” she posited.The Education Ministry is presently in the process of drafting a new curriculum for schools.The new curriculum is intended to benefit nursery, primary and secondary levels up to Grade Nine, as classes from there on utilise the Caribbean curriculum to prepare for the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC).According to a Senior Public Relations Officer of the Education Ministry, Brushell Blackman the new curriculum will include a number of broad areas, which he acknowledged the Ministry previously overlooked.The new syllabus, will among other things, seek to include oil education he posited.Blackman added the Ministry promised not to drag their feet on the paperwork, as they are fully aware of its importance and vitality at this time.Chief Education Officer Marcel Hutson also pointed out how critical it is for the curriculum to be updated, while saying, “This process cannot be a long and drawn out process. I know curriculum writing take time, but it cannot be forever. We don’t have all the time in the world”.
OTTAWA – Federal Liberals are nervous about the future of the Trans Mountain pipeline project as a political shake-up in British Columbia seems likely to produce a provincial government that opposes the plan.Liberals waited anxiously throughout the day for details of a deal between B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan and Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver and were greeted at day’s end by news the deal had not only been signed, but specifically included a plan to oppose the pipeline.The project – to twin the existing pipeline that runs between Edmonton and Burnaby, B.C. – was given the green light by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last fall. B.C. Liberal Premier Christy Clark came around to supporting it over the winter after certain conditions she placed on it were met.That approval likely cost her in the May 9 election, in which the Liberals fell one seat short of a majority and the Greens, with just three seats, were left holding the balance of power.Clark intends to test her government in the Legislature before the end of June, a test she expects to lose. She would likely then be replaced by Horgan and the NDP, whose minority government would be propped up by the Greens.Both Horgan and Weaver campaigned against Trans Mountain, a factor University of British Columbia professor George Hoberg said was certainly part of the election result and a sign that a majority of British Columbians don’t want the pipeline to be twinned.“A lot has changed,” said Hoberg, of the politics around Trans Mountain.While interprovincial pipelines remain the jurisdiction of Ottawa, he said a province could put up road blocks, such as refusing logging permits for construction or insisting on a provincial environmental assessment.“If it does either of those things the federal government would have to go to court to force B.C. to stand down and respect federal jurisdiction,” said Hoberg. “They would probably win. That would take a couple of years.”He said any delays could further erode the confidence of investors, who were already showing some skittishness about the project during Kinder Morgan’s initial public offering Tuesday.Trudeau, who was in Italy, insisted Tuesday the B.C. political shake-up doesn’t change the facts in favour of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr reiterated the message saying the project was approved based on science and extensive consultations and nothing has changed that.“The approval will be there for the former government, the current government and any government after that,” Carr said.However a source in the federal government acknowledged events in B.C. have made people in Ottawa nervous. The pipeline has already caused strife for the ruling party among supporters and even within the caucus with several B.C. Liberal MPs opposing it.Federal Conservatives smell blood. Newly-minted Leader Andrew Scheer said there are “forces uniting” to kill the Trans Mountain project and Trudeau doesn’t have the political stamina to stand up to them.“The Prime Minister personally approved this pipeline,” Scheer said in the House of Commons.“He said that it was a fundamental responsibility to get Canadian energy to market. Will the Prime Minister finally stand up to the forces that are seeking to kill these jobs, or will he fold like a cardboard cutout?”Greg MacEachern, a former Liberal strategist who is now a vice-president at Environics, said whatever happens in the B.C. legislature there will be areas of common ground and room for negotiation.“If there is a new NDP/Green government they are also going to have demands,” he said. “What this likely will come down to is the economy.”But federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said Tuesday she thinks Trans Mountain is “dead.”-follow @mrabson on Twitter.