They put service above all else and must be applauded, said Education Minister Ronald Jones last night as he congratulated ten teachers for attaining the honour of the Royal Fidelity National Distinguished Teachers’ Award.
The educators received their awards at a ceremony attended by family members, head teachers of their schools, and education officials at the Hilton.
“You didn’t enter [teaching] for high remuneration, that was not the call,” Jones said in his feature address. “You didn’t do it in order to be recognised in your community or in your country, but you entered this profession because you were called to be part of this profession. You were called to service to work with human kind, to give of your soul and your mind, to give of your heart to all those who passed through your hands.”
Noting that the teachers went beyond their normal duty, the Minister added, “You came to make a difference. You came to add to humanity’s stock of all things that are possible and all things that are good”.
This is the fourth year of the Fidelity Awards, and the 10 awardees for 2014 were selected from a total of 667 persons named for honours by pupils, the parents of pupils, and fellow teachers.
Royal Fidelity President Michael Anderson noted the growth of the awards from under 50 submissions at the start in 2011 to over 600 this year.
While stressing the important role of teachers, Anderson warned that “despite the strong commitment to education in Barbados, the greatest threat to its future economic security and social stability is an underskilled and undereducated work force.
“If Barbados is to compete in the rapidly changing economic environment that is driven and dominated by digitalization, deregulation, diversity and globalization then it must develop a workforce that is more highly skilled and literate than ever before.”
This year’s honourees were Jennifer Jackman of St Stephen’s Nursery; Hirute Selassie Yaicob, The Rock Christian School; Gemma Young, St Gabriel’s School; Joy Mayers, Samuel Jackman Prescod Polyclinic; Sean Hunte, Harrison College; Roger Scott, Queen’s College; Andre Burke, St Leonard’s Boys’; Coleen Gilkes-Collymore, New Horizons Academy; and Tyrone King, Combermere and Tishanna Ellis, St Winifred’s School.