A special award aimed at rewarding the input of non-academic support staff at high schools, was officially launched at the Ministry of Education, Heroes Circle offices, on February 10.
The award dubbed, ‘Education Support Staff Achievement’ (ESSA), is an initiative of Kingston Bookshop (KB), and seeks to recognise a wide cross section of personnel, including: clerks, bursars, librarians, ancillary staff, secretaries, canteen operators, grounds men, nurses, and traffic wardens.
Speaking at the launch, Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites said the initiative underscores the fact that non-academic members play a pivotal role to the sector.
"One message that we need to get across to our children in their upbringing if they are to have wholesome development, is that we must value the dignity and the contribution of every single person," he emphasised.
"I hope that the example being set by Kingston Bookshop will be highly infectious, not only to the rest of the education system but indeed to the society as a whole," the Minister said.
For his part, Custos of Kingston and Chief Executive Officer of Kingston Bookshop, Steadman Fuller, said the award is a continuation of support to education and by extension, national development.
Mr. Fuller said the award is another of the many awards initiated by Kingston Bookshop, aimed at recognising individuals within the education sector.
"ESSA is recognising some of those persons who have not been taken to the forefront to be recognized, as other participants of the school system. They are the fixture of most institutions. Principals come and go, teachers come and go. Most of the time they (support staff) remain with that particular school and give yeoman service for a long time," he said.
Criteria for the award include: minimum three years in the job; level of performance in the specific post; any initiative taken/suggested resulting in increased efficiency, cost cutting and overall improvement on the job; involvement in other areas of school life; level of engagement/interaction with the students and teachers; and willingness to go the extra mile.
Nominations of not more than 150 words should be directed by mail to: Kingston Bookshop ESSA Awards Competition, 80 King Street, Kingston CSO or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The entry should carry the following information: name of school, address of school, including parish; name and job title of person being nominated; name and signature of principal; and date of entry.
The prizes to be awarded include: National Prize – support for school library up to $500,000; National individual – certificate signed by the Minister of Education and the CEO of Kingston Bookshop; investment certificate for $100,000, and weekend for two at a resort.
Regional prizes include: school books for the library up to $100,000 in value; Individual – investment certificate for $50,000; and certificate signed by the Minister of Education and the CEO of Kingston Bookshop.
Nominations will close on March 31, 2012 and the presentations will be made at a luncheon on Friday, May 11 (during Education Week).
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter