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Minister of Education and Youth, Maxine Henry-Wilson has said that the ministry aims to, by the year 2015, have some 80 per cent of teachers exiting tertiary institutions with undergraduate degrees.
According to Mrs. Henry-Wilson teachers would be qualified with both content and methodology, and would be in a better position to guide students to be first class scholars.
She said this yesterday (May 26) while addressing an official opening and dedication ceremony for the Green Pond High, Primary and Basic schools. The ceremony was held at the Green Pond High school in Montego Bay.
Minister Henry-Wilson said upgrading the qualifications of teachers was a part of what she described as a wholistic approach being taken towards the education transformation process. Other aspects of the process include the improvement in infrastructure and the teaching/learning environment, as well as involvement of parents and the community.
She said the soon to be established National Parent/Teachers Association would improve the participation of parents in the transformation and improvement process.
Expressing the view that education was about values and attitudes, Mrs. Henry-Wilson added that apart from imparting knowledge to students, the teacher as a professional had to be the custodian of positive values and attitudes for the society.
Linking the infrastructural developments taking place within the education system with the development of the community as a unit, she said that one should compliment the other.
“The school is a facility for the community, it is a facility that must enhance the entire development of the community,” she stated.
The Education Minister urged parents to play their part in the education process, by assisting in reinforcing in their children, the value of education and learning.
“Please help us to reinforce in the minds of the children that there are no shortcuts to excellence. That it takes time, it takes energy, it takes effort to achieve excellence,” she said.
Mrs. Henry-Wilson said the transformation of the education process could only occur through a collective effort from all stakeholders.
“We are not going to transform the education system by 80 per cent of teachers getting degrees. We are not going to transform it by building lovely schools like these, even though they are essential,” she stressed, adding, “We are going to transform it by you respecting the school knowing that it is an investment in your community, that it is the most valuable investment that can be made, and protecting the investment”.
Mrs. Henry-Wilson said that the schools should be looked at as hallowed grounds by everyone.
The Green Pond High, Primary and Basic schools are three of the 17 schools being built in western Jamaica, by the Government of Jamaica, at a cost of approximately $3 .5 billion. Eight such schools will be cited in the parish of St. James with the Green Pond being three of these. Eleven of the 17 schools have already been completed and handed over to the Ministry.