JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, is appealing to parents to ensure their children attend school and get an education.
  • Mrs. Simpson Miller said even if the parents themselves cannot read, they should show interest in their children’s education.
  • She also called on communities to protect the children, and issued a stern warning to those abusing the children, telling them to “stop it”.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, is appealing to parents to ensure their children attend school and get an education.

Mrs. Simpson Miller said even if the parents themselves cannot read, they should show interest in their children’s education by ensuring that the homework is done and by checking with their teachers to see how they are progressing in school.

She also called on communities to protect the children, and issued a stern warning to those abusing the children, telling them to “stop it”.

“I think it is important for parents, the communities and the school community to see to the protection and education of our children. They are the future,” Mrs. Simpson Miller told JIS News.

The Prime Minister was at the Greenwich All Age School in her South West St. Andrew constituency on April 9, where she read to a class of Grade One students as part of Western Union Reading Week activities, being celebrated under the theme: ‘A Great Reader makes A Great Leader’.

She spoke with the children about National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Marcus Garvey, and stressed the importance of getting a good education, reading some of Garvey’s words for emphasis.

Following the children’s rendition of the song, ‘I Am A Promise, I Am a Possibility’, the Prime Minister told them that they have the potential to become anything that they want to be.

“I am hoping that one day we have Ministers of government from this school…Years gone by, I sat in a classroom just like this at the Marlie Hill Primary School. Today, I am Prime Minister of Jamaica. You can be anything you want to be,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.

Speaking to JIS News following her classroom experience, Mrs. Simpson Miller expressed pride at the large number of students from her constituency who are currently enrolled in tertiary institutions and who have already graduated and are now working.

“I pay special attention to education. It is a premium for me in terms of the students we assist in the constituency in tertiary institutions. I might not be able to do a number of other things at the same time, but I feel that if we can educate the people, we will be able to lift the standard of living of  persons in the constituency and certainly to lift the profile of the area,”  Mrs. Simpson Miller said.

She also congratulated the principal and staff of the Greenwich Town All Age School for the work that they have been doing in educating the children of the surrounding communities.

Mrs. Simpson Miller commended GraceKennedy Money Services group for the Reading Week activities, which are part of  the I-PLEDGE (I Promise to Lend Encouragement to Develop Growth in Education) programme, which has been endorsed by the Ministry of Education. The programme was designed to support community development, with an emphasis on primary education.

She further noted that it would be good to get other corporate entities involved in similar programmes, so that it can be expanded outside of Kingston and into deep rural Jamaica.

In the meantime, Chief Executive Officer, GraceKennedy Limited, Don Wehby, said the company remains just as enthusiastic about the reading programme as when it first started in 2004.

Mr. Wehby said the company believes in doing all it can to help promote the growth, education and development of the nation’s children.