Monday, 4 July 2016

NEWS + NOTES: Foreign Affairs ministry heading Downtown + Renee Rattray calls for education revolution + Top household workers honoured

FRUITS OF LABOUR: St. Andrew’s Terra Nova Hotel played host to last Thursday’s GraceKennedy/Heather Little-White Household Worker of the Year awards ceremony and luncheon, where Millicent Clunis (top female) and Michael Lawson (top male) were the toast of the afternoon. The winners each received $300,000 cheques, trophies and gift vouchers from Grace, before posing for photo-ops with company CEO Don Wehby and PM Andrew Holness, who delivered the keynote address. Lauding the winners and runners-up, the prime minister noted, “It doesn’t matter your station or your position. What is important is your commitment, your honesty and your integrity. In modern-day Jamaica, we must recognize the work of the household worker as a profession.” 

MAKING THE MOVE: The Ministry of Justice recently christened its new premises on Constant Spring Road. A week later, it’s been revealed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade will have a new home in the near future. According to reports, nearly $670 million has been set aside for the construction of the new facilities, as part of the massive redevelopment of Downtown Kingston. The ministry’s new headquarters, we hear, will provide more spacious accommodations for staff, large meeting and conference rooms and waiting areas for diplomats and other visitors. The construction project is being implemented by the foreign affairs ministry through funding from the Jamaican government and the Government of China.

LEARNING CURVE: As the curtains come down on one academic year, with another set to begin in a couple of months, at least one education sector veteran feels the time has come for some “revolutionary” changes to the system. “We cannot continue to operate our schools and conduct teaching and learning in the same way we have always done. It is not working. We must do things differently and act urgently,” former school principal Dr. Renee Rattray (Jamaica National Building Society) was recently quoted as saying. “We therefore need an education revolution. Some great things are happening in our schools and classrooms across this country, but in too many places there is a one-size-fits-all approach. How then do we expect to achieve creativity and innovation? We need an injection of disruptive leadership in our education system.”

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