by Derrick Scott
[NEW YORK] – Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States Her Excellency Audrey Marks has lauded the Jamaica Diaspora Education Task Force for staging its seventh education summit aimed at sharpening the skills of Jamaican educators in responding to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
JDETF Education Summit
Declaring the summit open at the Marymount College in New York on Monday. Ambassador Marks pointed out that “the Government of Jamaica continues to invest heavily in its education sector. We are aware that the strides made in this crucial sector will determine whether our economy continues at its current pace or leaps forward”.
The Summit brings together some 60 Jamaican educators from varied backgrounds to participate in week-long series of workshops, seminars, panel discussions, and school tours. The activities are aimed at leveraging vast Diaspora expertise for capacity development within the educational landscape for a post-pandemic Jamaica. This year the Summit is being hosted by the Union of Jamaican Alumni Associations (USA) Inc. (UJAA) and the Marymount Manhattan College (MMC) on the college’s campus in New York, NY. The Summit has rotated over the years to deliver different pedagogical experiences for teachers and educators. Prior to going virtual during the pandemic for the past two years.
The Jamaican Ambassador commended members of the Diaspora for the critical role they have played in the advancement of the Jamaican educational system over the years.
Remarks from the Ambassador
She said it was “no secret that Jamaica and the rest of the world continues to grapple with the disruptions to education caused by COVID-19. The pandemic widened pre-existing opportunity and achievement gaps, affecting disadvantaged students the hardest.”
“As stakeholders in the education process, it is vital that we make a concerted effort to lift the next generation by ‘teaching, learning, leading, and healing’. In Jamaica’s case, instilling critical thinking skills and adapting to a dynamic digital world will help our island accomplish Vision 2030. Achieve Sustainable Development Goals, and grow the middle class. Also, unleash the latent talent and potential of our people,” Ambassador Marks declared.
“Over the last two years, we have heard a lot about ‘learning loss’ and ‘learning recovery’. Which undoubtedly are complicated matters for teachers across the globe. Thankfully, initiatives like this Summit offer a platform for the development and sharing of strategies to counteract the learning disruptions. I am confident that our Jamaican teachers participating in this Summit will leave equipped with and ready to share transformational tools to meet the challenges of today,” she noted.
Jamaican Efforts in the U.S.
The Jamaican Ambassador pointed to the work of the Jamaican Embassy in Washington. Along with that of the Jamaican Diaspora, in “addressing the challenges to education caused by the pandemic, through the donation of tablets and other educational tools to students in need.”
“As an added measure, the Embassy, in partnership with the National Education Trust, is using the Adopt-A-School programme. In order to address problems that impact the quality of education in Jamaica. As 2022 marks the year of Jamaica’s Diamond Jubilee, the Adopt-A-School programme presents us with a unique opportunity to leave our fingerprints on a legacy project. More importantly, it gives our young people the chance to create and pursue their own legacy,” she said.
Ambassador Marks paid tribute to the work of Jamaica’s teachers. She noted that “every effort should be made to invest in them, and treat them like the professionals they are”. Marks also took the opportunity to acknowledge the Jamaica Teacher’s Association. Especially, for their continued good work and congratulate them on their upcoming 58th Anniversary.