Education, Youth and Information Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, says Jamaicans need to ascribe greater importance to formal education.
Speaking at a ceremony at the Brown’s Town Primary School in St. Ann on October 4 to hand over 126 tablets under the Government’s Tablets in Schools programme, Mrs. Williams emphasised that formal education is the “only sustainable way” to upward mobility and to “to lift Jamaicans out of poverty”.
“We have to do all we can to ensure that our students remain engaged with the formal education system. I know there are different ways in which students learn. They learn informally by playing, by interacting, by doing other things… but I will say unequivocally that formal education ought to have a bigger weight than any of those learning modes,” the Minister said.
Mrs. Williams emphasised that education at the highest level for every Jamaican can result in a transformation of the work force and significantly boost development of the economy.
“Yes, you can point out to me anecdotally about this person who never went to school but yet still they are successful; that’s not the norm.
The norm is formal education, and think about it, if all Jamaicans were educated to a high level, our GDP per capita would not be US$5,000, it would be US$50,000 or US$60,000, because we can attract the kinds of companies that pay those kinds of salaries, and we can create the businesses that can become global over time,” she noted.
In that regard, she urged educators, students and parents to take education seriously, as “what we have and what we have been producing over the years is not adequate for where we want to go” as a nation.
Mrs. Williams gave the assurance that the Ministry will continue to increase investment in education, in order to improve quality and performance standards.
“The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is going to do all that it can to provide the enabling environment for our students, such that we can raise the levels of our schools, such that wherever the school is, the quality of education there should be on par with any other school anywhere else across Jamaica,” she pointed out.