Sun | Oct 25, 2020

Letter of the Day | Crack down on rogue teachers

Published:Wednesday | October 9, 2019 | 12:00 AM


I am entering the debate on the use of biometrics to track teacher attendance in my capacity as the chairman of the board of management of a high school. My particular concern relates to the obligations of professional conduct and accountability of teachers and the inclusion of these in the public conversation on attendance by teachers.

The teachers’ conditions of engagement and of service require them to be at school at a time specified in the Education Regulations and agreed on with the school’s administration.

Unfortunately, in too many instances, the teachers do not adhere to their commitments in terms of attendance and invigilation of their grade and subject classes.

This results in students losing contact time and in the deterioration of discipline. School becomes a noisy place not fit for either teaching or learning.

Those teachers who observe the procedures become disgruntled and resentful that they are in compliance while others do as they please.

My question is: Are those who violate the Education Regulatons and the operating procedures of the school satisfied with their conduct as professionals? To whom do they feel they are accountable, if anyone, and how do we enforce accountability – a basic requirement of any profession?

I pose those questions also to the Jamaica Teachers’ Association. Can you also exhort your members to remember their obligations as professionals and remind them of their accountability, even as you correctly protect them against any violations of their individual rights?

To the authorities, help us, please. We are at our wits’ end. The hoops through which the boards and administrations of schools have to jump to just get basic compliance are designed almost as traps.

We are sent bulletins about what should not be done. But what should we do?

I know as a fact that representation has been made regarding the disregard of teachers for punctuality and attendance, but no support has been forthcoming for action.

The ministry must first start responding to basic enquiries on matters relating to the school’s functioning, if their directives are to be effective.

So, agreed! No violation of individual rights, but what about observance of collective and professional obligations and conduct?