Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, has hailed the nation’s teachers, noting that they are making an indelible contribution to nation building.
He was addressing the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) Golden Torch Award for Service to Education, held on Thursday, July 4, at the Sunset Jamaica Grand Resort and Spa in Ocho Rios, St. Ann.
Highlighting the contribution of the teachers, the Education Minister stated that a number of policy prescriptions would not have been successfully implemented without the role of educators, stating that the nation owes them a debt of gratitude.
“We recall the teachers’ role in the opening up of secondary education to the children of the poor with Common Entrance in 1957; in the expansion of secondary schools in the 1960’s with the junior secondary schools; with the free education in the 1970’s; and we cannot lose sight of the hope they brought to the youngsters, with HEART skills training during the 1980’s, and indeed, the ongoing process of transformation, which must be strengthened and advanced in our age,” he stated.
Rev. Thwaites lauded the 450 Golden Torch awardees, who have given a combined 15,750 years of service to the nurturing and upbringing of Jamaica’s youth.
“I salute the …teachers being honoured this year, not only on my own part but also on behalf of all those who work in the Ministry of Education. You … are some of those whom our National Heroes made reference to so many years ago,” Rev. Thwaites said.
The Education Minister had special commendation for the male teachers and urged education stakeholders “to discuss ways in which we can encourage more male teachers in our classrooms (because) fatherhood is an important element in the growth of every child.”
“The truth is that many of our families do not incorporate and involve an active father and having men, who can mold not only our boys, but also our girls into developing as responsible youngsters and eventually adults, must become a major priority of our social system and indeed, of our school activity,” he added.
Contact: Glenis A. Rose