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Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, has charged that the society has divested itself of the responsibility that is attached to bringing up children and transforming them into good worthwhile, productive citizens.
“We have unburdened ourselves of so much of that responsibility because too many of us have come to the conclusion that school and everything it represents is the place you send the child to, so that you can get a little peace and quiet in the yard and hope that in the process they will learn something”, he said. The Prime Minister added that the partnership that is so critical in effectively educating our children is missing in so many respects. He said teachers now have the difficult tasks of retro-fitting and repairing human minds that have been neglected, abused and misled, which is an enormously difficult thing to do while preparing a curriculum.
Mr. Golding was speaking at the Jamaica Teachers Associations’ Berger Paints-sponsored Roll of Honour Award presentation ceremony for 2008, at the Hilton Kingston hotel last evening (Nov 6). Educator and Principal of the Edith Dalton-James High school, Ray Howell, received the JTA’s Roll of Honour award for his pioneering initiatives throughout his almost 40 years as an educator.
In paying tribute to the awardee, Mr. Golding said that when persons had committed themselves to what he described as “this labour of love” with the persistence and despite the disappointment and disillusionment which they must have had to wrestle with over the years, the society owes it to people like Ray Howell, to hold him up as an example. “This is a higher calling that we must encourage people to continue to pursue and we must pay tribute to him for the work he has done”, Mr. Golding told the capacity room.
Mr. Howell spoke of his own commitment of love and service to others for over 40-years in various leadership roles and especially his role on behalf of his colleagues in the teaching profession and as a former President of the JTA. “If you want to be great in this world you must be willing to serve. Wherever you are called to serve, commit to making a difference and develop a culture of excellence. We need to stop the profiling and be committed to making a difference”, he charged. He said that if people found they could not add value or make a difference to the institution they served, then they should not stay and allow the organisation to stagnate or die.
Patron of the awards, the Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Honourable Professor Sir Kenneth Hall accompanied by Lady Hall, were among the guests, along with Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Dwight Nelson and representatives of the Ministry of Education.