JIS News

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  • Education Minister, the Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, has pointed to weakness in students’ home life as one of the greatest impediments to the education system.
  • Minister Thwaites was speaking at the Garvey Maceo High School in Clarendon, which was this year’s focus institution for Jamaica Day celebrations on February 28.
  • He said no student must feel as though they must make bad choices because they are needy.

Education Minister, the Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, has pointed to weakness in students’ home life as one of the greatest impediments to the education system.

Speaking at the Garvey Maceo High School in Clarendon, which was this year’s focus institution for Jamaica Day celebrations on February 28, Minister Thwaites highlighted the many cases of the “inability of the home to contribute to the students’ education despite the best endeavour.”

He explained that while his mission was not to cast blame, the truth must be told that greater responsibility must be assumed not only by parents and guardians but also by the students themselves. He pointed out that much investment has been made in the lives of students and informed that it is taxpayers who underwrite 80 per cent of the cost of public school education.

“To the parents and guardians, the goddy (godparents), the friend and the church who has helped you along with your own efforts, in difficulty sometimes, to find the bus fare and the lunch and book money to come to school, we have to look at a new way of dealing with ourselves. We have to be responsible for our own bodies, our own relationships,” Minister Thwaites said.

He urged the students to love, appreciate and value themselves, while exhibiting pride in their endeavours. No student, he said, must feel as though they must make bad choices because they are needy. Instead, he encouraged them to utilize resource persons at the schools who can assist.

“We have to do away with the prejudice that (it is), only the academic subjects that have any worth. They do, but (the fact) that the technical and vocational competencies are needed in order that we can create our own jobs and do the jobs that others have to give us, is important as well,” the Minister said.

Also attending the event was Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott, who is a former teacher at Garvey Maceo; Cuban Ambassador, His Excellency Bernardo Guanche Hernandez; officials from the Ministry of Education including Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Elaine Foster-Allen, and Director of the Culture in Education Programme, Ms. Amina Blackwood-Meeks; and University of the West Indies lecturer in entrepreneurship, Dr. K’adamawe K’nife.