Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, is appealing to Jamaican fathers to become more involved in the academic life of their children.
He said that “too often, in our education system, the fathers turn up to take the little ones…to school, basic or infant, and then the next time you see him is at graduation from high school. That trend has to change."
The Minister was addressing students of the Bishop Gibson High School for Girls in Manchester on Thursday (April 19), during the dedication ceremony for the school’s new computer laboratory.
He praised the school for its sound academic programme with “forward thinking teaching practices,” and its contribution to the solid social and moral upbringing of the students.
He also lauded the institution for its vision to establish a Fathers’ Group, which encourages fathers to play an active role in the education of their daughters.
The Education Minister said this was a commendable move by the school, which he hopes will be replicated in all schools across Jamaica.
"I’m so happy and I want to commend the fathers, who engage themselves in their daughters’ education and to encourage them,” he said. “It’s a trend that’s growing and we want it to be infectious,” he added.
Rev. Thwaites also told the girls that when they are ready to choose life partners, they must choose men who will be good fathers to their children. “The truth is that we men, very often, take our standards from the women who are around us, and therefore, there is a heavy responsibility that you have to yourselves and your children and to all of us,” he stated.
Rev. Thwaites further advised the girls that “it, therefore, doesn’t matter how much money (a man) flashes or what kind of car he drives, but if he isn’t going to be a good father, and if he doesn’t match the character that you have learned at Bishop Gibson, tell him to pack his bags and go.”
In the meantime, Rev. Thwaites officially opened the school’s newly constructed computer laboratory, which was built through the collaborative efforts of the Ministry, the Parent-Teachers Association, the School Board and the community.
The $7.2 million facility boasts more than 70 computers and a state-of-the-art audio visual system.
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter