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Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller says Jamaica has made important progress in education, thanks to the hardworking dedicated efforts of the nation’s teachers.
  • The Prime Minister noted that Jamaica has met several key internationally-agreed education targets.
  • The Prime Minister noted that countries are increasingly seeing the need to devote more resources to building schools and funding other educational needs.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller says Jamaica has made important progress in education, thanks to the hardworking dedicated efforts of the nation’s teachers. Speaking at her annual Medal of Appreciation for Service to Education ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Wednesday, June 24, the Prime Minister noted that Jamaica has met several key internationally-agreed education targets.

According to The Global Partnership for Education, only one-third of the countries in the world has achieved all the measurable “Education for All” goals agreed by 164 countries some 15 years ago. Additionally, fifty percent of all countries have achieved universal primary enrolment. “With your help, Jamaica is proudly numbered among those with this achievement,” Mrs. Simpson Miller told the educators.

The Prime Minister noted that countries are increasingly seeing the need to devote more resources to building schools and funding other educational needs. Between 1999 and 2012, 38 countries increased their educational spending by 1 percentage point or more of national income. She noted that in Jamaica, “the education sector has consistently received the greatest share of the budget after making provision for debt repayment.” This amounts to over $80 billion annually.

Asserting that “quality education is a right,” the Prime Minister said that this is one of the main guiding principles as Jamaica negotiates in the global arena the goals and targets for the post 2015 Development Agenda. “These targets should continue to focus on educational quality, improved learning outcomes and better teacher policies to improve school results,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said. She added that “Globally we need an increased recognition of early childhood education and care, and better transition of primary students to secondary education.”

The Prime Minister also pointed out that “learners with physical and learning disabilities, as well as people living in rural and marginalised communities, must be factored into the mainstream of educational, social and economic development.”

At this year’s Medal of Appreciation ceremony, the Prime Minister recognised 40 outstanding educators for their exceptional contribution to education and community development. The Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for Service to Education was instituted by Proclamation No. 1 issued by the Governor General on January 20, 2005. A total of 40 medals are awarded each year.


Below is a sample of profiles of educators who received medals of appreciation on June 24.


Mrs. Larine Thompson-Hutchinson


One of the longest serving early childhood education practitioners in Portland, Mrs. Larine Thompson-Hutchinson has devoted an impressive 44 years to the service of her community and country through education. Her name has become synonymous with the George Cohen Basic School, which she has served for decades.


Her service has earned her the distinction of being awarded for being Teacher of the Year in the parish as the Most Outstanding Basic School Teacher. On another occasion she has been first runner up for the accolade. An exemplary officer of the Basic School Teachers Fellowship, she served as teacher representative to the Portland Board. She has been influential in the development maintenance of the Portland Early Childhood Resource Centre.


For years Mrs. Thompson-Hutchinson has led a group of teachers and education officers in visiting teachers who are sick or retired. She is known for her many fundraising activities and for her work in improving the physical structure of the George Cohen Basic School in collaboration with the Jamaica Social Investment Fund.


Cultural programmes, including the Annual Basic School Teachers’ Talent Show, have been among her innovations to ensure that teachers are culturally aware. For a number of years, she served as President of the Teachers Fellowship and is known for always coordinating activities related to teachers’ welfare and interests. She has functioned in the capacity of Resource Person for the Church of God Portland Branch, where she is a Deaconess.  Mrs. Thompson-Hutchinson continues her philanthropic activities by being Treasurer and Chairman of the Hospitality Committee and the Port Antonio Theatre Group.


Mrs. Marjorie Ann Tracey


Mrs. Marjorie Ann Tracey has made service to education and community her lifelong preoccupation. Already, she has devoted 41 years to the sector, particularly to the development of young minds at Martin Primary School in St. Mary as Guidance Counsellor. There she initiated a breakfast programme and dental and optical assistance for students. She also coordinated with Food For the Poor to provide relief to the school and the community and worked with past students to fund scholarships for existing students. She led the effort to create a playground for the junior school and was the motivating force behind the establishment of the Infant Department.


Mrs. Tracey’s broader service to education included being Vice-Chairman of the Highgate Branch Library, Volunteer Teacher in the former JAMAL adult education programme, Assessor of student teachers at the Moneague College, Board Member of St. Cyprian’s Prep School, Sports Coordinator for the Jamaica Teachers’ Association and Member Secretary of the St. Mary Scouting Association.


For her dedication and service, Mrs. Tracey, a Synod representative at St. Cyprian’s Anglican Church, Rector’s Warden and Sunday School Teacher, has received an award for outstanding service from the Esher Seventh Day Adventist Church.



Mr. Radley Denzil Reid


With over four decades of sterling service in the education sector, Mr. Radley Denzil Reid has contributed immensely to the development of the national education system in Jamaica. Significantly, Mr. Reid developed, implemented and monitored an empirical programme of teaching, learning and assessment which was both data-driven and student centred. This innovative programme was responsible for the transformation of Campion College into a high-performing educational institution. The trailblazing educator also introduced and is collaborating with the Ministry of Education for the implementation of the ‘Extended Day Concept’ in order to take schools off the shift system and increase the number of single shift schools.


Mr. Reid has also been instrumental in writing modules for the Optional Section of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate Chemistry Syllabus and collaborated with other teachers to write three additional modules that were not available in published texts. These were circulated in high schools across the island.


An established leader among his peers, Mr. Reid has served as Chairman and Vice Chairman of five school boards and is a member of the Board of Governors of the International University of the Caribbean and United Theological College. In addition to his professional accolades and functions, Mr. Reid is active in the community having served as President of the Rotary Club of St. Andrew North, Justice of the Peace, Church Elder, Director and member of the Grace Kennedy Foundation and the Lester Day Foundation among other activities.



Mr. Samuel Sebastian Roberts


An all-rounder with an extraordinary track record of community involvement, philanthropy and outstanding service, Mr. Samuel Roberts has served the education sector for some 38 years. The award-winning teacher has copped numerous awards and accolades for his dedication and commitment to his pupils. These include the Teacher of the Year Award at various secondary institutions such as St. Hilda’s High School, Jamaica College, Charlie Smith and Knockalva Technical High.


The decorated educator has also received several awards for his selfless efforts in the community and was recognised by the Jamaica College Board and the Parent Teachers’ Association for service to the community and for starting a well-needed welfare programme at the institution in 1981. Passionate about assisting the most vulnerable in the community, Mr. Roberts has started countless initiatives designed to provide food, clothing, livelihood, shelter and health care for those in need.


Having served as President of several service organisations over the years, Mr. Roberts has also volunteered extensively in community empowerment projects and helped to establish a basic school in St. Ann’s Bay. Concerned about the holistic development of students, the experienced educator has put in place several extracurricular activities at the various schools at which he served including the formation of the Builders’ Club and Key Club among others.


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