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  • Minister of Education, the Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, is urging the country’s girls to make the best of their educational opportunities not only for their own advancement, but for the continued development of the nation.
  • He said that a sound education coupled with proper values, attitudes, spirituality, personality and a strong support system will assist them in becoming future leaders and nation builders.
  • Rev. Thwaites was speaking at the St. Hugh’s High School for Girls National Conference on Girls’ Education held on November 20 at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.

Minister of Education, the Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, is urging the country’s girls to make the best of their educational opportunities not only for their own advancement, but for the continued development of the nation.

He said that a sound education coupled with proper values, attitudes, spirituality, personality and a strong support system will assist them in becoming future leaders and nation builders.

Rev. Thwaites was speaking at the St. Hugh’s High School for Girls National Conference on Girls’ Education held today (November 20) at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.

Using the example of one of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, Pakistani child education activist Malala Yousafzai, he said many girls in several countries across the globe are denied educational opportunities because of the beliefs and customs within those countries.

Seventeen-year-old Malala is the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. The teenager was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in October 2012 for campaigning for girls’ education.

“You are fortunate that girls are not denied any aspect of education in Jamaica, the founders and those who have sustained St. Hugh’s and other such institutions over the years have guaranteed that for you,” he noted.

He said that in some countries, girls are not allowed to acquire driver’s licences and are considered the property of their fathers or male counterparts.

Minister Thwaites also highlighted the recent move by the Government to assist students who become pregnant to continue their education after delivery.

“We believe that even when something like that happens, that there should be a second chance,” he said.

He noted, however, that they should ensure that they are developed physically, mentally and financially before they become mothers.

“You should recognise that ordinary people of Jamaica are giving you a tremendous gift by allowing you to go to a school like St. Hugh’s and you must not waste that opportunity,” he said, noting that education is the best means for self-advancement.

“So many of our young people all over Jamaica don’t make use of the educational opportunities they have and we grumble and say this and that about it, but in Jamaica, we are fortunate because there is a place in school for every child, from the early childhood sector right up to the end of secondary school,” he stressed.

In the meantime, Principal, Deaconess Elaine Cunningham, said educating girls is one of the most effective ways of addressing global poverty.

“In educating our students, we are cognisant of the fact that education is not only located within the boundaries and walls of the classroom but everywhere,” she said.

The conference was held under the theme: ‘Girls’ Education: Pivotal to National Development’.

 

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