Thwaites hopes Gladstone Wilson College will prepare young boys to be better menThursday, August 26, 2021
MONTEGO BAY, St James — The need for a second all-boys' high school in Montego Bay has encouraged former education minister, Rev Ronald Thwaites, to establish the Monsignor Gladstone Wilson College, an institution he hopes will prepare young boys to be better men.
According to Thwaites, the national coordinator for Catholic education in Jamaica, the Gladstone Wilson College is the newest addition to the host of Roman Catholic schools across the island, after officially starting in the 2020/2021 academic year.
The idea for this all-boys' school, Thwaites shared, came during a conversation he had with Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang, who is also the Member of Parliament for St James North West, where the school is located.
Thwaites, who served a term as minister of education, pointed out that he recognised a need for an all-boys' school as “many of the high schools were severely crowded, and boys were not doing well in many instances.”
The private institution, which is housed at the Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, currently utilises the amenities of two of the country's well-known catholic schools, as they patiently wait to be named a government 'grant aided' institution run by a Catholic school board.
“Dr Chang shared with me the great need in Montego Bay for an all-boys' high school. When I served as minister of education, I knew that many of the high schools were severely crowded, and boys were not doing well in many instances. The Catholic church has an enviable record, along with other denominations, of sponsoring and owning very excellent high schools. So, I suggested that we start an all-boys' high school in Montego Bay and that we link it with Campion College and Mount Alvernia to ensure the best quality from the onset,” Thwaites told the Jamaica Observer West.
“The principal and the chairman of Campion College are on the board of the Gladstone Wilson College and Campion shares its administrative system and all its academic programmes virtually. This [institution] is adjacent to the Mount Alvernia High School and we have the strong support of the school; the laboratories and other facilities [are] available [to be used],” Thwaites added.
Chairman of the Monsignor Gladstone Wilson College's board, Dr Selbourne Hemmings, noted that while the school only had two students for the last academic year, he is hopeful that this school year will be better.
“I must admit, last year we only had two students for our grade 12 and that was the only class we had. We are hoping to get much more this year. We [have been] getting applications and we are processing them, but we have advertised for both grade seven and sixth form,” Hemmings told Observer West.
Aiming to be a “premiere all-boys school”, the Gladstone Wilson College follows the 'STEEM' curriculum, as ethics was added to teach these youngsters about moral principles, Hemmings said.
“In terms of our vision, we want to be a premiere institution like any other high school here in Montego Bay and the wider Jamaica. While we want to have a premiere all-boys' school, we have just started, [and] we don't want to spread ourselves too thin so we want to take a group of young boys in grade seven, [and sixth form] to develop them into young men who will serve our society as young men should,” he stated.
“We [have] starting out with what we call STEEM, which is science, technology, engineering, ethics, and mathematics. We have added the aspect of ethics which we think is very important, along with the core subjects for building academics,” Hemmings added.
The chairman shared that while the school awaits its acceptance into the public education sector, it must charge a tuition fee, as it is currently an independent school.
“There is [currently] a tuition fee because our patron Dr Chang envisions us to be a [government-aided] school in the very near future so we are working closely with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information to achieve this but [for] now, we are starting out as an independent school, so we do have to charge a tuition. Our tuition is $40,000 for grade seven students and $60,000 for sixth formers per term,” said Hemmings.
The disparity in the education system sees more girls going off to attain a tertiary education than boys, Hemmings noted. He attributes this to different learning styles and is focused on using the Gladstone Wilson College to reduce this disparity.
“There must be a reason why boys are not moving on to tertiary education. One of the things is that boys may need to be taught in a different way so we are exploring different avenues of how we can get back the young men in our society to move on to tertiary level, and become leaders again in their country,” he told Observer West.