Sun | Dec 3, 2023

Thwaites: Church, volunteers integral to education system

Published:Friday | September 13, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Karl Samuda (right), minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, and Alando Terrelonge, minister of state in the education ministry, share a light moment with Opposition spokesman on education Ronald Thwaites during the ministry's official launch of the 2019-2020 school year at Ardenne High School in St Andrew yesterday.

Opposition Spokesman on Education and Training Ronald Thwaites has lauded the Ministry of Education’s move to twin a number of high schools in a pilot project aimed at boosting academic performances.

“We must take little things to mark big results because while they have come together to drum, to sing, and to dance and to act, can our imaginations conceive how much further we can take this partnership?” Thwaites said at the official launch of the new school year yesterday.

Thwaites, a former education minister, also used the opportunity to express gratitude to those who continue to give to the sector.

“Sometimes we say that volunteerism is weakening in Jamaica. It’s not in the education system. The board members serve voluntarily, and they are the backbone of the education system ... . The ministry allows them to be the community of care that every school needs,” Thwaites said.

The Church was also given credit for helping to shape young lives, with about 50 per cent of schools being owned and operated by them.

The Church, Thwaites said, not only provides funding, but also the moral grounding necessary for the development of the nation’s children.

“Understand the truth of the secular research that tells us that children who go to Sabbath school and Sunday school and have religious education in the school invariably turn out better academically and socially than those who don’t ... . Let not any blind secularism dilute that!” Thwaites, a Roman Catholic deacon, said.

With one in every five children absent from school every day, he outlined school attendance, nutrition, and the teaching of morals as areas that he would like to see getting greater focus this academic year.