Sixty Years Later


The Class of 2013 is comprised of 420 Miconians graduating this evening: 25 with Joint Board Diplomas; 349 with Bachelor Degrees, 46 with Masters Degrees. You have been prepared for work as Teachers of Early Childhood, Primary, Special Needs and Secondary schools and as Counsellors. In 1953 the total enrolment of Mico College was 103 students in the three years Diploma to prepare students to teach at elementary schools. In 1953 colonial officials handed over the reins of governance to Ministers of Government, elected by the people.

In 1953 Mico was the largest of the four small single-sex colleges training elementary school teachers. Only 44 percent of teachers in elementary schools were trained. The University College of the West Indies admitted its first batch of 30 students to be trained as secondary school teachers. Jamaica imported most of it high school teachers from Britain. The principals of almost all high schools and all teachers colleges were expatriates. This is the baseline of the transformation that has taken place in teacher education over the last 60 years.

Mico has been in forefront of this transformation the broad contours of which are:

  1. The teacher force at all levels of education has been Jamacainised and is self-sustaining.
  2. Jamaica is now a net exporter of teachers. Graduates of Jamaican teachers’ colleges have established the quality and validity of their education in the international marketplace.
  3. Teachers college graduates have recruited and have been successful in almost all occupations serving people in Jamaica, the Caribbean and internationally.
  4. The graduates of colleges and universities educating teachers in Jamaica have been high calibre and constructive citizens wherever in the world they have lived and worked.
  5. Jamaican teacher education leads the Caribbean in its scope, governance, and methods of validation.

In the 1950’s, and at Independence in 1962, there were many who doubted our capacity to overcome the legacy bequeathed by colonialism, feared the future and were beaten down by assertions of inferiority that were deliberately cultivated by the ruling elites. The transformation described has been achieved by those who dared to confront the odds; who had faith in the people and themselves, and were bold in their assertions and exertions to succeed.

Graduating Class of 2013 the world that awaits you is marked by high youth unemployment, including the unemployment of teachers; renewed racism clothed in sophisticated rhetoric; those who fear the future; and those who are discouraged by the odds for advancement.

The Mico has always been a non-denominational Christian institution. I can do no better than leave you with the words of Scripture: 2 Timothy 1:12. “God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power and love and of a sound mind”. Go forth therefore with a calm mind despite the storms face you; persevere by faith in God, and assert the power of love through service. In so doing you will be a participant in transforming your world, in like manner as the Graduates of 1953.