Gov’t to develop programmes to enhance teachers’ well-being
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says his administration is exploring the possible development and revitalisation of programmes that will enhance the well-being of the nation's teachers.
This, he says, forms part of the Government's ongoing strengthening of the profession's institutional framework aimed at improving teachers' capacity to ensure they can maintain a productive, healthy and rewarding career.
"Our teachers motivate and inspire (our children) daily (and they) ... make things happen. I know that there are many teachers who, sometimes, feel very frustrated that their career is not (as) rewarding as it should be. They must also be motivated to give of their best and to change the lives of our students," Holness added.
In that regard, he said the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information was "looking at several programmes ... to ensure that (their) career (and) the profession of teaching is fulfilling".
Holness encouraged the ministry to partner with the Jamaica Teachers' Association "to ensure that our teachers are protected and supported, because it's not always about the pay, but it is the quality of the experience in the career that also counts".
The prime minister was delivering the keynote address at the LASCO 2016/17 Teacher and Principal of the Year Awards Ceremony, held recently at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
Holness said the focus on education was imperative as it is the "most critical investment in our future.
"It is the most precious gift we can give to our children. In fact, education is their fundamental human right. An educated nation will enable us all to reach and fulfil our true potential," he said.
The prime minister stressed, however, that sector stakeholders must be mindful that "we cannot take the same approach in teaching all our children.
"Under the old system, teachers expected children to learn according to how they were teaching. But we find that when we rely on that (format), we are leaving many of our students behind. So the ministry is stressing a more diversified way of teaching ... that we have to teach according to how our children learn," he added.
A such, he said the ministry developed and implemented several interventions, such as the Alternative Secondary Transitional Education Programme, which ensures that "regardless of what the teacher does at the chalkboard ... we capture those who were not learning apace".
Holness said that based on this and other interventions, "we have managed to do quite a bit in transforming the education system to make it relevant to the needs of children."
In this regard, he urged Minister Ruel Reid to continue to make sure that our education system continues to be inclusive and diversified".
Reid, who also spoke at the ceremony, said the programmes either being undertaken or explored formed "part of our commitment to nation building.
"The education sector faces many challenges. But we believe that as we work together in a sense of real partnership, our children will be better off and, ultimately, so too will Jamaica," he added.