Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, is again imploring Jamaicans to look out for the nation’s children and protect them.
She made the call while addressing the Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for Services to Education ceremony, held on June 9 at Jamaica House. The Prime Minister’s plea came as the country grappled with recent acts of violence against children.
She made a special appeal for responsible males in the society to be good role models for children.
She noted that many boys and girls are being raised without the positive support and guidance of a father or any other adult male relatives in their lives.
“I want to beseech all the responsible men folk in the society, you may not be a teacher in the classroom, but …the young children in your community are looking at you, whether you like it or not,” she stated.
“These children are looking for security, they want to learn how to behave towards the opposite sex; some of them have low self-esteem. You may not have signed on to be a role model but you are. Take an interest in the young people around you; who knows what difference you can make in the life of an eight-year old child. One single word could end up changing the world,” she said further.
The Prime Minister also asked the teachers to help educate the parents to instill good discipline and other positive values at home.
“That way, they will help to make the classroom safer (and) create an improved learning environment,” she pointed out.
She said the Government has built certain platforms to help improve the quality of parenting and leadership within the education system and cited the passage of the Parenting Bill in Parliament last year as an example.
She noted that the Bill will help to empower parents by integrating them fully within the education reform process.
She also highlighted the more than 160 parenting places that will be established to facilitate interactions between parents and teachers in various communities and schools.
The Prime Minister thanked and congratulated the 40 teachers, who were awarded medals of appreciation, and recognised the “countless others whose service we sometimes take for granted.”
In congratulating the awardees, Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) President, Clayton Hall, encouraged them to continue being role models to young teachers, so that they will be inspired to do their best for every child in the classroom.
“The Jamaica Teachers Association is very proud of you who have been honoured today, because you represent the best qualities in those of us who serve this noble profession,” he stated.
Instituted in 2005, the Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for Service to Education is given to a teacher, who has served for a minimum of 15 years; displayed exceptional service in the teaching profession; and has shown evidence of community involvement, innovation and creativity in service.
Contact: Andrea Braham