Education Minister, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, has called for a renewed partnership involving the state, teachers, parents and students, which will facilitate adequate resources to advance the provision of education, particularly at the secondary level.
Speaking at a meeting of the Jamaica College (JC) Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) at the institution’s Old Hope Road campus in St. Andrew, on March 12, Rev. Thwaites contended that the notion of free education in Jamaica “has been misunderstood."
“We must recognise, nationally, that education is wrought at a very high price. Nothing of great value in life, such as education, is free. Even if you do not have to pay fees, courtesy of the Jamaican taxpayer, you know (that there are) the other expenses that are so necessary for a child’s education,” he told the meeting.
Rev. Thwaites alluded to the late former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Michael Manley’s advocacy for free education during his tenure, pointing out that this was based on the position that no one should be denied quality education, based on economic inability, asserting that this “is a principle from which we must never resile."
“And so, we need to look to a new kind of covenant between parents and teachers and students and the state, going forward, where we see ourselves as engaged in a robust partnership where everybody contributes to the extent that they can,” the Minister said.
Rev. Thwaites emphasised that contributors should do willingly, “not looking over their shoulders, not saying that ‘you should contribute more’, but doing the very best that they can, if we want a (bright) future for our nation."
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter