The Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for Service to Education was presented to 80 educators on Thursday (September 8), for their outstanding contributions to the sector.
The presentation ceremony, which was held at Jamaica House, saw educators from the 2021 and 2022 cohorts receiving medals.
The number of awards presented this year was doubled due to the postponement of the 2021 ceremony, in compliance with COVID-19 public health protocols.
In his address, Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, commended the honorees for their service, noting that its value to national development is inestimable.
“Jamaica cannot honour you enough; but please know we are grateful. Through this special ceremony tonight, we are recognising your dedication and service above self. The award you receive this evening is not only to recognise your achievements, it is also a symbol of appreciation of your mission of molding the most important asset of our island nation – our youth,” he said.
Mr. Holness added that while the event is a recognition of long, sterling service of exceptional educators, it also seeks to reignite the principles of excellence in the teaching corps.
Addressing the issue of teacher migration, the Prime Minister thanked those who have chosen to remain in the profession to give their talents to the continued development of the nation’s education sector.
“I must thank those who have opted to stay in the profession here in Jamaica to enable children to benefit from their experience and expertise. As Prime Minister, let me assure you that I am fully aware of the level of sacrifice, commitment, and great sense of responsibility you bring to bear to your duties on a daily basis. I therefore take this opportunity to salute all our teachers for giving of your best as classroom teachers, administrators, counsellors, and trainers,” he said.
For her part, Education and Youth Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, also extended congratulations to the awardees and lauded them on their significant contributions to Jamaica’s social and economic advancement.
“The 80 persons awarded… have demonstrated over many years that teaching is a calling and that, by your example and commitment, educators in the classroom and in administration can have a huge, positive impact on the lives of your students,” she said.
Awardees were selected by a committee comprising officials from across the sector. Points were awarded to nominees based on pre-determined criteria. The persons receiving the highest number of points were selected for the prestigious award.
The medal gives recognition to the significant contribution made by persons to Jamaica’s development in the field of education.
The medal may be awarded annually to any citizen of Jamaica or, in exceptional circumstances, to a person who is not a citizen, where that individual has been a teacher with a minimum of 15 years of service locally.
It recognises the outstanding service of persons who have shown evidence of community involvement, innovation, and creativity in the service.
Community involvement encompasses participation in civic activities, clubs and societies, uniformed groups, and other programmes and activities fostering community development and enhancing the person’s role as an educator giving outstanding service.
The number of medals awarded in any year shall not exceed 40.
The Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for Service to Education was instituted by Proclamation Number One, issued by the Governor-General on June 20, 2005.