Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, has praised the Hydel Group of Schools for the invaluable contribution it has made to the country's educational landscape.
"Hydel follows a tradition, a history that has made the Jamaican education system proud," Minister Thwaites said, as he addressed the Hydel Group of Schools' 20th Anniversary Thanksgiving Ceremony, held on the school grounds in Ferry, St. Catherine, on September 26.
He further lauded the independent school on reaching its 20th anniversary, "not in a condition and spirit of decline, but rather in a mood and disposition for expansion and growth."
"Throughout the passage of history in Jamaica, from after Emancipation right through to the present time, the growth of the education system has taken place largely because of the spirit and inspiration of persons like your founder and President (Hyacinth Bennett), who understands that the only (avenue) for upward mobility in any society, is quality education," he said.
The Minister argued that the Jamaican education system needs every good educational space that can be created by the State or by private people "and so we welcome and want to support private schools like Hydel."
Rev. Thwaites said he is impressed by the level of discipline displayed by the students and the "religious spirit" of the school.
Opposition Spokesperson on Education, Marissa Dalrymple, offered congratulations to Ms. Bennett and Hydel's dedicated faculty and staff, "who have given of their very best to make the creative and innovative philosophy of education on which this institution was founded, a reality today."
For her part, President of the Hydel Home School Association, Donna Marie Rowe, said that Hydel's comprehensive offerings, from kindergarten through to tertiary level education, "are quite unique to Jamaica and perhaps the region and to the world."
Mrs. Rowe, who is Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), said the institution may well become a prototype for cost effective delivery of education.
"Hydel has been able to maintain its quality of education and reach out to more students, even those who are physically challenged," she added.
Ms. Bennett opened the Hydel Preparatory School at Mannings Hill Road with 300 students in 1992. This has since blossomed into a group of schools now located at Ferry, which consist of a nursery; pre-school; preparatory school; pre-first form (for students who are not academically ready for junior high); junior high; senior high; sixth form; a special education centre; a remedial reading centre; an academic support centre; and an evening college for adults.