Tue | Dec 6, 2016

Mixed fortunes for NPTAJ - Much success this year but several challenges remain for parents and teachers

Published:Sunday | December 21, 2014 | 12:00 AM
A parent involvement and awareness programme workshop where parents were taught by the Barita Education Foundation teachers how to create instructional aid from 'trashables' to reinforce concepts at home with their children. - File
Parents and teachers celebrate Parents' Day at Cacoon Primary and Infant School. - File
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Everton Hannam, Contributor

This year has so far been one of mixed fortunes and relative success for the National Parent-Teacher Association of Jamaica, (NPTAJ).

We continue to engage our many stakeholders and build partnerships which will contribute to the objectives of the NPTAJ. These objectives include:

  • Liase with the Ministry of Education or any other government authority/ministry with the national responsibility for education and other state authorities in relation to the education system in Jamaica and in relation to matters that impact, whether directly or indirectly, the learning environment, the welfare of parents, teachers or students.
  • Lobby for reasonable changes or improvements in relation to matters that affect the education system in Jamaica and the school environment.
  • Create a spirit of understanding and cooperation between schools and homes.
  • Promote a spirit of loyalty and pride in schools, school property and property of fellow students, staff and all property generally, including national monuments and public buildings.
  • Promote and help to develop best practices for parents.

The NPTAJ also continues to be visible through the media commenting on various issues of national importance relating to education and parents and to serve on a number of important committees at the national level:

1: Safe Schools Committee

2: Textbook Committee

3: Committee for the Reintegration of Pregnant School Girls into the Education System

4: Child Support Task Force

5: Jamaica Teaching Council

6: National Council on Education

7: National Parenting Support Commission

However, we were confronted with a number of challenges:

  • Resistance of many schools to recognise and support the activities of the PTA, including hostility towards PTA and their elected leadership;
  • Deficit in leadership at various leadership levels of the PTA;
  • Low level of attendance and participation at PTA meetings, especially among our male parents;
  • Limited or no knowledge of leadership at the various levels (local, regional and national).

For 2015, the NPTAJ will continue to

❐ Increase its visibility in the media.

❐ Strengthen the partnership with our stakeholders, including the Ministry of Education and the private sector and other NGOs.

❐ Increase the number of registered schools with NPTAJ to 500.

❐ Conduct more leadership training through the signing of an MOU with a leadership training organisation.

❐ Establish a national Parent Support Fund to assist parents whose children have suffered certain national disaster or personal challenges which would affect their continuing education.

❐ Establish a PTA loyalty card

❐ Put in place mechanism to reduce tensions between PTA and school administration, ensuring a more harmonious relationship.

Strengthen the quality of leadership at the local/regional/ national level, allowing for a more professional, effective organisation.

ACTIVE PARTICIPATION

The NPTAJ will also continue its active participation on the committees on which it has representation, ensuring that the voice of parents as an important stakeholder in the Education Transformation Process is not only heard but respected.

In addition, the NPTAJ will continue to ensure that parent-teacher associations make meaningful contribution to the education transformation process by being proactively involved in the different aspects of our children's lives.

The organisation is hopeful that more males will participate in the activities of the PTA at their schools by attending the meetings which are held, and also offer themselves for leadership.

We are also hopeful that parents will become more responsive and involved in the lives of their children. We would not be averse to the passing of legislation which will engage parents who abandon their duty and responsibilities of parents.

Everton Hannam is the president of the National Parent-Teacher Association of Jamaica. Email feedback to editorial@gleanerjm.com