ST JAMES, Jamaica - The Ministry of Education and Youth is hailing the Moravian Church for its contribution to the development of primary education in Jamaica.
Moravian missionaries established the first elementary school for the education of the children of slaves in Jamaica in St Elizabeth 200 years ago.
Acting Director of Regional Education Services in the Ministry’s Region 5, Nevadeene Gallimore Miller, said the church’s pioneering work has left an indelible mark on the educational landscape.
Addressing the ‘Bicentennial Celebrations of Primary Education in Jamaica 1823 to 2023’ at the Lititz Moravian Church in St Elizabeth on September 17, Gallimore Miller said that the church remains an important partner in the transformation of the education system.
“The Ministry's thrust towards transformation places a high value on pursuing excellence in everything that is done to ensure that all students have equitable and inclusive access to quality education,” she noted.
“We are very much aware that we can only realise the targets of these priority goals through partnerships and through the support of our stakeholders and one major stakeholder is the Moravian Church,” she added.
President of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), Leighton Johnson, said the Moravian Church must be credited for paving the way for 200 years of educational development.
He noted that the foundation laid by the church will continue to benefit Jamaicans for generations to come.
“We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. Acknowledging the foundation therefore means giving credit to the pioneers, such as the Moravian Church, who are trailblazers and visionaries who came before us,” Johnson said.
He urged all stakeholders to come together and draw inspiration from the Moravian Church's enduring commitment to education and the betterment of society.
Today, there are 33 primary schools, including infant schools, that are affiliated with the Moravian Church –14 in St Elizabeth; 11 in Manchester; six in Westmoreland; and two in Clarendon.
These schools are classified as owned or leased and are all fully funded by the Government.
Additionally, the Moravian Church operates one preparatory or private school at the primary level, which is the Morris Knibb Preparatory School in St Andrew.