Education key to Jamaica's development
As we look forward to the start of the new school year, I take pleasure in sharing with the public the theme for the Jamaica Teachers' Association conference year, 2018-19: 'Promoting the Teaching Profession: A Beacon Of Hope and Inspiration To Our Nation.'
The theme, no doubt, is calling for the nation to pay attention to the fundamental role that education plays in creating a humane society and advancing our growth and development.
Indeed, the 2030 vision of creating a Jamaica where we can live, raise families, do business and ultimately to retire, will elude us if as a nation we do not give the required support to provide high-quality education for our citizens. If as a country we want to see sustainable economic growth and development, education must be the foundation of that economic model.
Pay teachers respect
Consequently, it must be recognised that teachers are the lifeline of our society, and so we must pay due respect and encourage them to continue to carry out their duties with the highest level of professionalism, knowing fully well that our work as teachers will have a lasting impact on the lives of our young people and the ultimate destiny of our nation.
Ours is the task to inspire and bring hope, even in times of great challenge. So, I am confident, as we embark on the start of the new school year, that we will remain true to this awesome responsibility.
Let us remain focused and do all we can to approach the year with great optimism that we shall overcome.
Colleagues, you can rest assured that your association, under my leadership, during the course of this year will continue to press the powers that be to create better working conditions for teachers and to pay attention to the health and well-being of all our members.
Our voice will be loud and clear on matters affecting and relating to education. It will be a voice of reason, and solution-oriented. Be assured, we will continue to closely monitor the implementation of the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examination as we seek to ensure that our children are given a fair and real chance to showcase their talents in the context of this new examination regime.
Time of opportunities
To parents and students, the start of the new school year can be a time of great anxiety. Despite this, see in the difficulties opportunities to be exploited, work with your teachers and school administrators to optimise your full potential. Great success can be achieved when school, parents, students and community work together for the advancement of education.
In recent times, we have seen too many of our children being impacted seriously by crime and violence. Therefore, it's our intention to assist in stemming this level of aggression against our young people which, unfortunately, finds itself in our school environs.
I commend to you the thought shared by Malcolm X, "Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today".
May God bless you all, my colleagues, and may the great teacher Himself give you insight and patience to nurture those entrusted to your care.
I wish for you a rewarding and most productive school year as we 'unite and serve.'
Dr Garth Anderson
September 2018 - August 2019