Fri | Feb 21, 2020

Seaga among trio honoured by the ECC

Published:Friday | May 24, 2019 | 12:19 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Professor Maureen Samms-Vaughan (right), former chairman of the Early Childhood Commission, accepting her award from Trisha Williams-Singh, the current chairman.
Professor Maureen Samms-Vaughan (right), former chairman of the Early Childhood Commission, accepting her award from Trisha Williams-Singh, the current chairman.


Former Prime Minister Edward Seaga was one of three stalwarts who were honoured by the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) for their contribution to early childhood development in Jamaica.

The other awardees were Professor Maureen Samms-Vaughan, former chairman of the ECC, and Maxine Henry-Wilson, a former minister of education.

The three were credited for their constant push for curriculum development, child-centred learning, positive family interaction, and the training of early childhood practitioners.

Dr Grace McLean, acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, said Seaga, who is now overseas receiving medical treatment, has helped to develop many of the country’s women through the HEART Trust/NTA and the early childhood sector in general.


“We saw the efforts that he (Edward Seaga) made in terms of the institutions in our country. One of those that I associated with for many years is the HEART Trust/NTA, and I will never forget having worked at HEART for a while and when we were going to work in the mornings, you would see streams of young ladies, women walking from three miles to the (Kingston) Free Zone between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., and between 4:30 p.m., and 5:30 p.m., you would see them coming back,” said McLean, who was speaking at an awards ceremony at the of the ECC’s Annual Professional Development Institute Conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James on Wednesday.

“It was good for its time, and he would have contributed significantly,” added McLean, further highlighting Seaga’s contribution. “We pray for his speedy recovery, and we continue to celebrate and to build on the legacy of this gentleman who has contributed significantly to the development of this country.”

McLean said that Henry-Wilson, who served as minister of education from 2002-2007, contributed immensely to the development of the early childhood sector by streamlining infant schools.

“Mrs Henry-Wilson was the minister of education who coined the phrase ‘Every child can learn, every child must’,” said McLean.

The permanent secretary also praised Samms-Vaughan as a pillar of the early childhood education sector as head of the ECC, quipping that she was still holding to book Ministry of Education officials in conforming to standards.

“Many of you here may not have had the opportunity to go overseas and hear persons just boasting about the Jamaican early childhood programme,” said McLean. “Everywhere you go, any education conference with a focus on early childhood education, the reference would have been on Jamaica. You know who would have done that – Professor Samms-Vaughan.

“I have benefited greatly. Everything that I have learned about early childhood, Professor Samms-Vaughan would have taught me,” McLean said.