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Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says Jamaica’s teachers remain pivotal stakeholders in the national effort to preserve the nation’s moral standards.
  • “Each (time) someone is murdered in a community or a child is killed, and then children start to become accustomed to this, there is devaluation in the importance of life. If there is no reinforcement of the importance of life, then we (will) continue to slide down this very slippery slope,” the Prime Minister argued.
  • In this regard, he encouraged principals, teachers and other school administrators to structure their institutions’ programmes to reinforce these very important values.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says Jamaica’s teachers remain pivotal stakeholders in the national effort to preserve the nation’s moral standards.

He contends that while segments of the society were becoming “more accepting” of dastardly acts and incidents of savagery, particularly meted out to children, “teachers will have to draw the line in the sand and defend our moral standards.”

“Each (time) someone is murdered in a community or a child is killed, and then children start to become accustomed to this, there is devaluation in the importance of life. If there is no reinforcement of the importance of life, then we (will) continue to slide down this very slippery slope,” the Prime Minister argued.

In this regard, he encouraged principals, teachers and other school administrators to structure their institutions’ programmes to reinforce these very important values.

“When everybody else is giving up, you cannot give up. More than the lessons you deliver and the instructions you give in the classroom, you cannot give up on our children,” Mr. Holness further stated.

He was speaking at the Lasco 2016/17 Teacher and Principal of the Year Awards ceremony, held recently at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.

Meanwhile, Mr. Holness is encouraging teachers to foster greater creativity, curiosity and innovation in their students.

These traits, he pointed out, are common, particularly in persons who are highly successful.

“We tend to have a very conservative style which translates into (a) class management style where we …want to keep our children very quiet…and our idea of discipline is uniformity and conformity. So there is not much curiosity being allowed because we sometimes confuse (children’s) curiosity with (their) being disobedient,” he argued.

The Prime Minister contended that the truly great teachers “always want to figure out why things are done the way are and how we can change them for the better.”

Mr. Holness further said that schools accommodating and facilitating students in this regard “will do well.”

“So I encourage all teachers to allow your children to be curious about the world, because that is the first step in acquiring knowledge and then using (it) for better,” he added.
St. Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) Principal, Keith Wellington, and teacher at the institution, Kerene Nelson, copped the 2016/17 Lasco Principal and Teacher of the Year awards.