JIS: Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says the observation of Education Week provides an opportunity to celebrate the important role that education plays in building the society.
He said that with education being at the core of Jamaica’s mission for social change and development “we must continue to raise the bar in celebrating our teachers, who are the vanguards of sustained transformation”.
Senator Reid was addressing the Jamaica Teachers’ Association’s (JTA) Education Week service at the New Testament Church of God in May Pen on Sunday (May 7). It was held under the theme ‘Navigating the Education Landscape: Transforming, Engaging, Collaborating, Facilitating and Leading’.
The Education Minister said the theme is relevant and applicable, recognising the many facets of the teaching profession and the contributions of the noble profession. “Teachers are nation builders and world leaders, who engender change and promote a world worth living in,” he pointed out.
He also noted the key role played by churches in the education system, noting that “out of colonialism and slavery… they were very early in facilitating the establishment of schools as we have them today.
Thus a significant number of our institutions are actually church schools”. President of the JTA, Howard Isaacs, said this year’s theme brings into focus several critical elements of the teaching-learning experience and “pinpoints the value of collaboration as we plot the course for Jamaica’s education system”.
“It is essential that all stakeholders recognise their critical roles in the process. Too often, the impression is given that teachers have a golden wand to bring about changes needed. All hands must be on deck, to be responsible as we develop an engaging, effective and efficient education system,” Mr. Isaacs said.
Rev. Rohan Ambersley, who delivered the sermon, reminded teachers that education must focus on clear and enduring principles, reconnect with foundational values and realign these values where there is a disconnect.
Rev. Ambersley said that in navigating the educational landscape, the idea of transformation is important.
He noted, however, that for education to be transformational, “it must not only include knowledge but must also accomplish character formation. It must not just facilitate the expansion of mind but also transformation of hearts. It must not just tell us what to think, but guide us how to think”.
He said that for education to be meaningful it must impact how people act, and result in behavior change.
“We must… allow the knowledge we have to influence how we act. There is no sense in saying we know and then not do, because knowing without doing is madness, resulting in empty boasting,” Rev. Ambersley argued.
“You must convince your students that they must hear, observe and apply, that is what makes the difference; convince students that knowledge and practice will lift them out of poverty and add value to the world,” he added. Also in attendance were Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information,Dean-Roy Bernard; Chief Education Officer in the Ministry, Dr. Grace McLean; members of the JTA executive and students.
CAPTION: Senator the Honourable Ruel Reid, Minister of Education, Youth and Information