October 5 each year is celebrated as World Teachers’ Day. It is a day when teachers across the world unite in their efforts to celebrate the achievements, successes, challenges and opportunities as they pursue the greatest vocation – that of teaching.
October 5, 2020 marks the official start of the new school year in Jamaica due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our teachers and students have been thrown into a tailspin. Covid-19 confirmed cases continue to escalate and the death toll rises daily. In order to protect teachers and students, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has declared that there will be no face to face teaching.
Virtual teaching will now become the normal avenue for disseminating information and engaging students in the learning process. This poses a huge challenge, since regardless of the various platforms, some students will never be able to connect since availability of Internet and broad band access is non-existent. Where accessibility is possible, students also lose valuable hours due to the cost of data and devices.
The various modalities being put forward by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information are commendable but the percentage of students who will still be on the edge is still too much. A higher level of commitment from all stakeholders is needed if we are to close the gap between those able to learn and those who will only be able to think about learning. Ours is the task to collaborate with the government, the churches, and the teachers to make education achievable to all. We owe it to our children to see that they are both literate and numerate.
We thank all those who contributed their resources for the growth and development of our schools. We give special thanks to those who served as volunteers, schools chaplain, board chairman and members over the last academic year and ask you to continue supporting in your various capacities. The challenges are many but the opportunities exist for greater collaboration between public and private institutions. The sharing of teachers with demonstrable, proven expertise should be encouraged at this time. It can only redound to the benefit of our nation.
The Division of Anglican schools in the Diocese of Jamaica and The Cayman Islands pledges its continued support to education, and particularly to our Anglican schools across the length and breadth of Jamaica. “A learning people in a time of change” is who we are. We will emerge victorious from the challenges of Covid-19. A happy World Teachers’ Day to every teacher – retired or practicing. We celebrate your worth and your work and look forward to a great academic year.
Director of Schools