JIS News

Thirty-five educators were yesterday (June 11) honoured by Prime Minister Bruce Golding, for their distinguished contribution to education in Jamaica, when he presented them with the Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for service to education, at a ceremony held at the National Arena. The honorees included Mrs. Beulah Johnson of St. Joseph Teachers College, who has given 51 years of service as an educator at various institutions.
In his remarks, Mr. Golding said so much time was spent worrying about the challenges in education that, as a society, we often forget the centrality of the teacher who helps to shape the minds and characters of our people. He said more needs to be done to support the work of teachers and that the home should prepare students for school by ensuring that they are grounded in certain values and have an understanding of right from wrong.
The Prime Minister stressed that these values should start at home and reinforced by the church and community. He said too often teachers find themselves with raw material that was just too raw, and that too much time was wasted preparing the mind in the classroom. He said the Parenting Commission being established by the Ministry of Education should help to sensitize parents about the crucial responsibility they have to their children and by extension, the society.
Mr. Golding commended the awardees for the contribution and sacrifices that they have made, adding that they represented a template of what the teaching profession was all about. He said a society’s advancement was determined by how it prepares its children, as well as by the values it holds dear. He said how people relate to each other and collaborate in order to achieve common goals, would also impact the advancement of the society. Mr. Golding said education was one means through which Jamaica could build a society and a set of relationships that govern it.
In his remarks, Minister of Education, Andrew Holness, said while the breakdown in discipline was a main problem for the teaching profession, education was still the way to shape the society and the approximately 700,000 students in the system. He said great teachers such as those recognized at the function, knew that if a child was not learning the way they teach, then they should teach the way the child learns.
He commended the honorees and added that they have recognized that the mind was not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be inspired. His commendations were echoed by President of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association, Ena Barclay, who said the awardees represented the best of the teaching profession.
The Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for Service to Education is awarded annually and gives due recognition to the significant contribution made by persons in the field of education and to the development of Jamaica. The Medal may be awarded to any citizen of Jamaica or, in exceptional circumstances, to a non-citizen.

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