- Education must be taken more seriously if Jamaica is to fulfill its development goals.
- Rev. Thwaites lamented that education is, to some extent, being taken “too much for granted” in Jamaica.
- The nation must achieve a very high standard of education and be “very conscious about our educational opportunities”.
Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says education must be taken more seriously by a greater number of persons across the society, if Jamaica is to fulfill its development goals.
Speaking at the University of Technology’s (UTech) inaugural Education Day exposition at the institution’s Papine campus in St. Andrew, on October 31, Rev. Thwaites lamented that education is, to some extent, being taken “too much for granted” in Jamaica.
“Twenty-five per cent of those who graduate from high school leave with nothing more than a certificate of attendance and a pretty picture in a cap and gown. Large numbers of our young people come to university at very great cost, and unfortunately, they don’t make the best use of the system at all. They simply coast or expect that, since they are here, they must get through eventually…and the social arrangements that are necessary and usual at the university are the priority rather than the books,” he said.
The Minister argued that if education is not treated as a “first priority”, individually and collectively as a nation, “nothing else is going to work”.
Rev. Thwaites stressed that if Jamaica is to compete globally, then the nation must achieve a very high standard of education and be “very conscious about our educational opportunities”.
“No endeavour (is) going to be able to succeed without an educated workforce. If we want to advance, as individuals, in our own careers and achieve our ambitions, have the requirements of a happy life…if we want to advance, as a nation, towards our 2030 vision, and beyond, we have to take education far more seriously than we (currently) do,” he emphasized.
Rev. Thwaites said it is against this background that the education sector gets a significant percentage of the national budget each fiscal year, while citing the $75 billion allocation for the current period.
“Even in the hardest times, no other Ministry gets the kind of money that education gets. It’s not enough. But it indicates a truth, that the Jamaican people understand the point that an educated population is the best way to achieve development,” he said.
UTech’s Education Day, an initiative of the Faculty of Education and Liberal Studies, was staged under the theme: ‘Advancing Education in Challenging Times is Everybody’s Business’.
The event was aimed at highlighting the importance of education to students, how it can assist in improving their standard of living, and how corporate Jamaica can assist to enhance its delivery in light of the current economic constraints.