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More social workers for schools

Thursday, December 13, 2018

THE Ministry of Education, Youth and Information will be increasing the number of social workers deployed to schools to assist administrators and teachers in addressing issues encountered, particularly disruptive student behaviour.

This was disclosed by State Minister Floyd Green during the 2018/19 Lasco/Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Teacher and Principal of the Year Awards ceremony, held at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday.

“(The) classroom is not always an easy place to manoeuvre and oftentimes when we get our children, they are products of environments which we probably did not, as teachers, have a hand in creating,” he said.

Green said children displaying maladaptive behaviour are often depicting symptoms of a deeper problem which may not have started in schools.

“We have recognised that in the ministry, and that is why we continue to expand the [number] of social workers we put in our systems to help support our teachers to ensure that the behind-the-scenes work, especially in the communities and in the households, can be done with our students, so they can be better all-round students,” he said.

Against this background, Green said that the ministry will continue to implement systems and programmes to assist educators.

Meanwhile, the state minister has commended the nation's educators for the extraordinary role they continue play in shaping the lives of Jamaica's children.

“Teachers are so much more than [that]. You have to become a guide, friend, mentor, and confidante. You have to do so much, especially to get those children who oftentimes [it] appears difficult for them to reach their full potential; it is a task that is truly appreciated,” he said.

Green also congratulated the 11 finalists in the 2018/19 Teacher and Principal of the Year Awards, adding that “you are, in fact, all winners, because every day, you inspire and shape the lives of our children”.

He also used the opportunity to laud the nation's principals, adding that ministry data indicate that schools rise and fall depending on the strength and weakness of these administrators.

“A number of the principals you see and who have been nominated over the years, would have participated in our National Centre for Educational Leadership Aspiring Principal Programme, as we try to harness the best of their potential so that we can get the best out of our schools [and] ultimately… our children,” he said.

Green noted the competition provides meaningful professional experiences and exposure to all participants and enables the profession to highlight the work of outstanding performers as exemplary models of the education sector.

“Of all the professions… there are in the world, the most important is that of [the] teacher, because it is on [that person] that all other professions are based,” he said.

The annual LASCO/Ministry of Education Teacher and Principal of the Year awards recognise and reward excellence in teaching.

St George's College's first female principal, Margaret Campbell, and Munro College senior teacher, Amorkard Brown, copped this year's awards.