Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, says history has taught us as a nation, that the only legitimate way of achieving social and economic progress is through education.
He emphasises that education is worthy of the greatest investment, and that development of the human mind ought to be the number one priority for the country.
Rev. Thwaites was addressing the Valedictory Service for 278 graduates of the Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College, held at the Calvary Baptist Church, in Montego Bay, on April 19.
Focusing his presentation on teachers and their importance, the Minister said there will be no improvement in the education system, no matter what capital money is provided, no matter how many great schools are built, “unless our teachers are of first class quality, of the greatest dedication, of acute minds and possess a spirit of enthusiasm, to capture the imagination and the interest of our children."
While paying tribute to all teachers who have been working with limited resources, Rev. Thwaites told the graduates that continuing professional development is no longer an option, but a compulsory necessity for the teaching profession in Jamaica.
He explained that the new entry level for teachers is going to be a Bachelors degree, and as such, persons in the profession and those planning to get into the career must begin to plan towards this requirement.
“May I say to you that the coming standards of registration and accountability ought not to be seen as threats for teachers, but rather as reasonable new standards worked out with your colleagues in the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) and others, in order that the profession will rise to a new pedigree, which will demand the recompense and the regard in the society that each of us craves,” he said.
The Minister said the government is prepared to work with persons within the profession, in the interest of the country’s future.
By Bryan Miller, JIS Reporter