Amidst all the challenges facing this country we are heartened by the fact that many Jamaicans still care enough to honour our teachers, especially now as the island observes Education Week.

As Education Minister Ruel Reid correctly pointed out in his message to mark the occasion, “Education Week offers an opportunity for all Jamaicans to celebrate the important role that education plays in promoting equity, the achievements of our students and the invaluable work of our educators in building our society.”

Minister Reid was also on point when he described education as “the path that leads away from poverty and despair towards a future full of hope, promise and prosperity”.

We have, in this newspaper, published stories of many Jamaicans who have used education to pull themselves out of poverty. Indeed, in some of the cases, the individuals were heading down a path that would likely have ended in a life of crime. However, they will quickly tell you that excellent teachers saved them from that dark future, and they are now model citizens. Some are even using their experience to try to influence change in truant youngsters as they pay forward the care and kindness that were extended to them.

 The teachers who can reach the most challenging students, who will stay past the last bell and spend their own money on books and supplies, and who will go beyond the call of duty are the ones who make that extra difference.

It is those teachers in particular whom we celebrate this week as we reflect on our educational system that, despite its challenges, delivers to the best of its ability and upholds the ideal of giving priority to early childhood instruction because there is broad acceptance in the education sector that those are the critical years in children’s lives.

We acknowledge that more can be done to improve Jamaica’s educational system and we have no doubt that the current Government, just like its predecessor, is committed to that, as Minister Reid has emphasised that his Government has made lifelong learning a priority and is serious about providing all children with good life choices.

For our part, this newspaper is resolute that we will continue to aid the educational process with our publications, particularly the cjunior Study Centre which, we know, have been instrumental in giving students an extra push towards success in their examinations.

Our greatest thanks, though, go to the many dedicated teachers and education administrators across the country for their sterling service to Jamaica.