Karen Sudu, Gleaner Writer
LINSTEAD, St Catherine:
EDUCATION MINISTER Ronald Thwaites is calling for a systematic change in the island's education system in order to ensure all-round success.
"We need a new sense of order and discipline and engagement in the education system. We all need to take accountability, minister, teacher, principal, ancillary staff member, parent, parent particularly, for the outcome of education in our land. We are spending too much and getting too little," Thwaites asserted.
He was delivering the keynote address at the launch of Dinthill Technical High School's 75th anniversary celebrations themed 'Honouring the Past: Celebrating Excellence' at the institution in Linstead, St Catherine, recently.
While highlighting the importance of academic excellence, Thwaites emphasised that the principles and values of social life should be integral components of the curriculum.
"If everyone would get 10 CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) subjects, and however many in CAPE (Caribbean Advancement Proficiency Examinations) and turn out to be social misfits, and people who were only interested in themselves, and had no generosity of spirit, and did not understand the order and discipline that is needed for life, we would have failed them and ourselves as a society.
Therefore, it is of such importance that the principles and values of social life be part of the education at Dinthill," he argued
Thwaites added: "If the students need, they must learn, if they never learnt it before, why it is important to stand up in a line straight and not just at the betting shop. We must learn why it is that we stand erect at the National Anthem and for the National Pledge.
"We must understand that there is a level of order and discipline in respect of our teachers, and it can't be that teachers have to spend 15 to 20 minutes of a meagre class time establishing order before they can give the first set of instructions."
At the same time, he warned that teachers should not beat and treat students like animals when they seek to inculcate in them acceptable and unacceptable principles.
Meanwhile, the education minister lauded the local and overseas chapters of the school's past students' association for their invaluable contribution to the development of the institution.
He also commended past and present administrators and staff of the school, established in 1938, to provide skills training in agriculture and related trades for young men ages 15 to 17, who had not qualified for admittance to secondary schools, for their vision.
Several activities including Alumni Day on March 8, a dinner and dance on June 28, and an awards banquet on December 19, will be staged in celebration of the school's 75th anniversary.