Caribbean Endorsements by Sir Howard Cooke
Sir Howard Cooke, the former Governor General of Jamaica (1991-2006), was born in the Parish of St James on 13 November, 1915. He was educated at Mico College and at London University. In his twenty-three years of teaching, Sir Howard served as Headmaster at Belle Castle All-Age School, Port Antonio Upper School, and Montego Bay Boys’ School. He has also acted as President of the Jamaica Teacher’s Association. In 1938 he became one of the founding members of the People’s National Party (PNP) and was, during his political career, a senator as well as a member of the House of Representatives. He was also a minister of government, holding various positions including Minister of Pensions and Social Security, of Education, and Labour and the Public Service.
Extracts from a review of the book: ‘They Call Me Teacher – The Life and Times of Sir Howard Cooke By Jackie Ranston, Published by Ian Randle in 2003.
Sir Howard Cooke enrolled at Mico Teachers College in 1963. While at Mico, his leadership qualities were quickly recognized and after graduating he was asked to return to teach. After marrying Lady Ivy Cooke, he went to teach at Belle Castle a rural school some 52 miles from Kingston. This was a pioneering social and educational experience. Cooke became community leader, choirmaster, preacher and farmer. Family life was difficult too as the teacher's cottage had no running water, and the toilet and kitchen were in separate buildings. After 11 years, the school had progressed from a grade D category to to a grade A category and half-a-century after, Sir Howard and his wife are revered in the community as Teacher Cooke and Miss Ivy. Belle Castle was followed by a year at London University's Institute of Education and a return to the classroom at the Montego Bay Boys School where he and his wife continued to be educational pioneers through remedial reading programmes and diagnostic testing. Although this great Jamaican occupied the highest office in the land, he is still fondly known as 'Teacher' by those whose lives he has touched.