Publication Date: 
Monday, September 4, 2023

Stakeholders in education and citizen all, its a pleasure to be talking with you at this time.

As we stand on the eve of the new academic year, I know that there is a sense of excitement anxiety and anticipation. For students, the new school year presents new beginnings. You will be moving to higher grade levels or starting a new school at either the early childhood, primary, secondary or tertiary levels.
For parents this period is particularly challenging as you are confronted with the cost of making the necessary preparations for your children to return to school, to start a new school or attend school for the first time. For teachers and school administrators, we eagerly await the return of our students so
that we can continue inspiring change and providing

opportunities for them to develop their talents and competencies.
The new academic year also presents new opportunities. Opportunities for students to identify their true potential, opportunities for teachers to inspire, and for every Jamaican to prioritize education. As we forge ahead in this post
pandemic era it is critical for us to remember that Education is the foundation for our future and we must continue to make strides towards our academic goals.

Students, you are the primary beneficiaries of our education system. I encourage you to embrace every opportunity to advance your educational pursuits; Set achievable goals, stay organized and manage your time efficiently. Remember education is not just about achieving good grades; it is also about developing critical thinking skills and those technical
competencies that are essential for your survival in a global

To our parents, I understand very well the challenges that you face. Balancing work, childcare and monitoring your children’s education an be overwhelming.

I encourage you nonetheless to keep motivating your children to maintain the high standards that have been established in your homes. Support the schools by attending PTA meetings and parent Conferences as well as making financial contributions in the quest to produce well-rounded students who will adapt to the demands of a dynamic world. Establish systems of accountability within your home and hold your children accountable for their actions. Be patient and understanding as your children navigate the academic
challenges of the new school year. 

To our teachers and administrators, schools remain arguably, the single most stable socializing agency within our society. With this reference, I urge you to continue to demonstrate the highest level of professionalism as you execute your duties. I am confident that our schools are staffed with capable teachers
who possess the necessary pedagogical competencies to deliver world-class education. Continue to sharpen your skills to stay relevant in our fast-paced, technology-driven society.  It is imperative that we provide the best possible educational experiences to our nation’s children, within our context. We
must cultivate positive, conducive teaching and learning environments that nurture curiosity, creativity, and a passion for learning.

Stakeholders in education, there is a direct correlation between teacher motivation and teacher performance. As your President, I remain committed in
advocating for improved working conditions. Additionally, I will remain focused and diligent in leaving no stone unturned to resolve the outstanding issues of the graduate allowance and ensuring that each teacher is correctly positioned in the respective bands of the new compensation framework. 

The students’ formal learning environment is the teacher’s working environment. Therefore, ensuring the safety and security of both students and teachers must be a priority for all schools. I urge the Ministry of Education to increase the presence of school resource officers assigned to our schools
and immediately address the fencing requirements for vulnerable institutions that remain open to invasions by individuals whose intentions are to disrupt regular operations.

We eagerly await the installation of surveillance cameras to assist in providing greater levels of security within our schools.
We implore our bus and taxi operators to demonstrate greater levels of responsibility in the way in which our students are transported to school. We urge you to drive within the speed limits and to ensure that our students are entertained with music that is positive, motivating and spiritually uplifting.

Amidst the reality of increasing teacher migration, we appreciate the Ministry of Education and Youth’s policy expansions to reduce the impact of teacher migration. However, we eagerly await the start of the new year to fully assess the impact that the current wave of teacher migration will have on the sector. We are aware that there are schools which will start the new school year unable to fill  vacancies in critical subject disciplines creating additional anxieties in the system.


The Jamaica Teachers’ Association will closely monitor these developments to prevent overwork and burnout among our teachers who have chosen to remain on our shores to keep our system afloat. I hasten to remind our employers, that creating an environment where teachers can thrive and care for their families is vital.

As we embark on this new academic year, we must continue to call for education to be given the attention it deserves. We must focus on early  childhood education, special education to include clearly outlined accelerated pathways, a national campaign to train technical and vocational teachers and for teachers to be positioned as the chief architects to design policy and strategies for the development of education.

 Let me re emphasise, Our teacher’s voices should guide educational policies, ensuring that whatever system, project or initiative is implemented, it must be
geared to advance Jamaica’s Vision of creating a country of Choice .

Let us collectively commit to fostering an environment of empathy, growth, and inclusivity. Let us embrace innovation and technology as powerful tools to enhance the learning experience. Let us ensure that every student, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to access quality education.

Together, we will make this academic year a resounding success.

On behalf of the Jamaica Teachers Association, I extend my best wishes for a productive academic year.


Mr. Leighton Johnson

President, JTA



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