Wed | Oct 4, 2023

Education Council pays tribute to the late Dr Simon Clarke

Former chairman remembered as ‘educator extraordinaire’

Published:Saturday | June 3, 2023 | 12:07 AM
Dr. Simon Clarke
Dr. Simon Clarke

The National Council on Education is mourning the passing of Dr. Simon Alanzo Clarke, former chairman of the Council who died on Monday, May 15, after a prolonged illness. An outstanding educator, Dr. Clarke served the Council with distinction from 2015 to 2018. His first major assignment at the NCE was to spearhead the longstanding review of the Education Regulations of 1980. This was done through national consultations with key stakeholders and special interest groups. His tenacity, commitment to hard work and value for excellence, propelled the team in ensuring that this assignment was completed and delivered to the Minister of Education, in a timely manner, a release from the Council notes.

As a teacher of English language, Dr. Clarke was able to stimulate an interest for learning in many young people. He believed in equipping people with the necessary skills and knowledge to take charge of their own lives. Although a Panamanian by birth, Simon Clarke, chose Jamaica, as his home and served the island with distinction, as a true Caribbean and international citizen.

The release further hails Dr. Clarke as a pioneer in the field of education, having served as the first principal of Green Island Secondary, the first principal of Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College and the first executive director of the Creative Production and Training Centre (CPTC), later assuming the position of chairman of the institution. Additionally, Dr. Clarke served in varied capacities both locally, regionally and internationally. He was UNESCO’s director and education adviser for the Caribbean.

Inclusive leader

Simon, as he is affectionately called, was a humble man, and a devout Christian. He recognised the importance of being truthful at all times, and upholding principles of integrity and transparency as he governed the NCE. He was an inclusive leader, who was not afraid to speak the truth dispassionately when necessary.

Blessed with many gifts, Dr. Clarke was a natural orator. An erudite broadcaster, Dr. Clarke was a talkshow host on JBC’s “Public Eye” programme during the 1980s. His wit, suave and convincing voice, led him to produce and present the radio series “Panorama on Education”, which was aired on Sunday afternoons. Dr. Clarke’s contribution to education and national development was not limited to schools and colleges, but extended to the wider society. He served on several boards of management spanning the public and private sectors.