Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Don't spoil Christmas for schoolkids

Published:Saturday | December 10, 2016 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I've noted with concern and puzzlement The Gleaner's article published this week detailing the education ministry's insistence on extending the Christmas school term because of a few missed days as we kept watch for Hurricane Matthew, under advisement of said Government, as well as for the local government elections.

First, the children shouldn't have their Christmas holidays ruined by attending school a couple days before the Christmas weekend simply because adults made bad decisions. From observation, our education system is among the most rigid globally, and I'm still yet to see how a few missed days will separate us from the rest of the world. We do not need to add more days to have the poor kids suffer from overload.

Second, the demand is oppression of already stressed and underpaid teachers who also need to wrap up the term in keeping with traditional timelines. We don't need to extract a pound of flesh because they got two extra days at home, which would have helped them to recuperate from overcrowded and under-resourced classrooms occupied by undisciplined students. I'm confident that a trained teacher could adjust his or her lesson plans and make up those lost hours without micro-management and cracking of the whip!

BIGGER ISSUES ARE THERE

Third, am I to understand that the minister and his executives have nothing more pressing to tend to at this juncture? Are the schools adequately staffed? Are the facilities in place for an enriching learning environment? Are the schools adequately funded so that the already stressed teachers don't have to do as many fundraising barbecues, fish fry sessions, concerts, special days and lapathons to raise funds to pay ancillary workers and improve the grounds, etc.? I could go on. We have mastered the art of majoring in the minor.

Last, the parents simply can't afford it. They are looking forward to the 16th, and I dare say many students will not be sent in the coming week as they are pulled from school because 'nutten nah gwaan', as a cost-cutting measure.

Dear Minister Reid, focus! Don't be sidetracked from the bigger picture. On behalf of parents islandwide, children who love the holidays, and the teachers to whom we are ever so grateful, have a merry Christmas!

MARIE-ANN CAMPBELL