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  • Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, has called on the St. James business community to increase its support to education in the parish.
  • The support of the business people will ensure that the education system continues to produce well-trained professionals for the labour market.
  • The Education Minister also urged the business people to get involved in a mentorship programme.

Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, has called on the St. James business community to increase its support to education in the parish.

Rev. Thwaites, who was addressing a luncheon staged by the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on June 4, said the support of the business people will ensure that the education system continues to produce well-trained professionals for the labour market.

“May I call upon you in your generosity and in your own self-interest, because which business person here does not want good customers in the future and how will you get them if we do not have a good education system? Which business here, with the hope of expansion, does not want adequately trained and disposed employees, and where will you get them if not from a mature education system?” he asked.

The Education Minister also urged the business people to get involved in a mentorship programme.

“There are many, many students, who do not have the influence of a mature person, a man in their community or family environment. Ninety-two percent of the teachers in this country are female… it is true that young women and young men need strong males in order to mature sufficiently,” he said.

Noting the Government commitment to improving outcomes in the education system, Rev. Thwaites informed that the budgetary allocation for early childhood has increased to 14 per cent this year from three per cent in 2010.

At the secondary level, technical and vocational competencies have been infused, and focus is being given to enhancing competencies in English and mathematics.

Meanwhile, Minister Thwaites is promising that the shift system  at St. James High School in Montego Bay will be removed by September of 2016, and that the Herbert Morrison Technical High School will shortly become a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Academy.