When I heard that this important Teaching Strategy Symposium was being held in collaboration with my Alma Mater, the Union Institute and University, it immediately got priority on my schedule.
Of course, with my former Professor, Professor Tredinnick and other staff of the Union Institute and University in attendance, I knew I had to be here to brief you all, endorse this important symposium, and welcome the Union Institute and University team to Jamaica.
This is an occasion of great significance to the education sector, as we advance the delivery of quality education in our nation.
The theme for the symposium today: “Enhancing the teaching strategies of our teachers to create a dynamic learning environment” shows that our educators are in for an enriching experience today.
As I have said on many occasions, ‘show me a prosperous nation and I will show you an educated people’.
We can all agree that the future and the long term sustainable development of our country rest on the holistic development of our children.
Given the right support, training and encouragement, they can excel beyond our highest dreams.
Here in Jamaica, I am always heartened by the historic television series ‘Schools Challenge Quiz which our best and brightest young minds engage in competitive intellectual rigor.
I am also always impressed by especially the Junior School Challenge Quiz Competition in which the primary and prep schools compete.
The level of preparation that the little children have to undergo, in order to perform well in the competition, is tremendous.
That is why I congratulate the students, their teachers, parents and guardians for all their hard work and dedication.
I also salute the teachers, who always put in a lot of work to ensure that the children know their material and are academically, emotionally and psychological prepared.
The recent win by St. Richard’s Primary in the junior quiz competition is further proof that excellent things are happening in the primary education system.
I recently I had the pleasure of hosting at Jamaica House, the top performers in the CSEC and CAPE exams in the Caribbean region for this year.
Standing right there with the outstanding students from Trinidad and Guyana were our own stars from Jamaica.
Big things are happening in Education in Jamaica! I want to commend Rev. Thwaites and his hardworking team at the Ministry for their contribution and relentless efforts.
Ladies and gentlemen,
While we celebrate the successes, we also have to acknowledge the challenges in our education system and take steps to address them without delay.
I further commend the Ministry of Education for the establishment of the Career Advancement Programme (CAP).
CAP is one of several initiatives designed to offer a second chance for educational attainment to students aged 16 to 18 who have not performed well in traditional school exit examinations.
CAP provides these youngsters with training that will help them obtain a career for life, earn certification and find a job.
Every child can learn, every child must learn, from the primary level and beyond their normal course of secondary study.
We believe that education is the foundation for development.
Another truth that I always hold fast to is, ‘If you think education is expensive, try ignorance’!
We will not be able to effectively eliminate poverty unless we reduce the number of young persons who are unattached or at risk.
Data from the Ministry of Education show that of the 42,000 students set to leave the secondary system in 2015, 9000 of these students will not leave the system with the required competences. We cannot leave them behind.
Ladies and gentlemen, as we make significant headway in education, part of that process is to ensure that our teachers are equipped and empowered to provide the required level of guidance to our young Jamaican citizens.
That is why I am very pleased to participate in this symposium, where secondary level teachers from across the island can gain even greater insight and apply practical international best practices in education for the benefit of our children.
I commend the Technical Working Committee of CAP for assisting the career advancement of teachers with modern strategies to help students in the CAP programme.
I am pleased that you have decided to invite these outstanding international professors and presenters to assist in the training of our teachers.
This process provides our teachers with a global perspective on to how to successfully teach young adult learners.
I encourage all the participants to gain all that you can from what I am sure, will be some excellent sessions.
Allow me to therefore to extend sincere gratitude to the presenters who have given of their time to train our Jamaican teachers.
I must also commend Dr. Cornwall, Dr. McLean and all the other persons who worked to make this event a reality, for their vision and effort.
The award of the Professor Michael Tredinnick Scholarship to deserving students and teacher of the Haile Selassie High School is, for me, ‘the icing on the cake’, this morning.
As Member of Parliament for South West St. Andrew, and the proud MP for the Haile Selassie School, on behalf of all the people of South West St. Andrew, I wish to commend the recipients.
I also wish to sincerely thank Professor Tredinnick, Dr. Cornwall and those who organized these scholarships for the stellar work that they have done.
I leave you with some sound words from Our first National Hero, Marcus Garvey, who encouraged us:
“You must never stop learning…no one is ever too old to learn..and never give up until you reach the objective, and you can reach the objective if others have done so before you, proving by their doing it, that it is possible.”
Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to endorse this Teaching Strategy symposium and to wish you all a productive day.
Thank you and God bless you.
THE MOST HON. PORTIA SIMPSON MILLER, ON, MP
TEACHING STRATEGY SYMPOSIUM
ORGANISED BY THE CAREER ADVANCEMENT PROGRAMME OF THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION IN COLLABORATION WITH THE UNION INSTITUTE AND UNIVERSITY
DECEMBER 13, 2014. 8:00AM