Sun | Jan 20, 2019

Trade unionist says Gov't ignoring fundamental principles of education reform

Published:Thursday | August 21, 2014 | 4:36 PM
Danny Roberts - File

Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer


Danny Roberts, head of the Hugh Lawson Shearer Trade Union Education Institute, says the Government continues to ignore two fundamental principles as it seeks to drive educational reform in Jamaica.

Roberts made the observation while delivering the keynote address during the opening session of the Jamaica Teachers' Association's (JTA) annual conference at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa, Montego Bay, today.

The first principle he claimed has been ignored by Government is the rules of engagement between the Ministry of Education and the JTA, that frame the conduct of their relationship.

The second is the need to define what are the primary drivers for the success of education reform in Jamaica.

Roberts insisted that education reform cannot continue on a path which appears in the public to be pitting teachers against the minister of education and his technocrats.

"What it means is that both sides must sit and talk about the rules of engagement going forward ... dialogue is the course to be pursued and the only alternative to dialogue is more dialogue.

And so there needs to be a meeting to establish a protocol to guide how issues are dealt with by both sides."

Roberts cited the approach of passing legislation to construct what he calls the Goliathian bureaucracy - The Jamaica Teaching Council and the passing of legislation to moving people across parishes against their will - as counter productive to making the education system better.

"It is firstly to recognise that the governance and management of the education system must be in the hands of school leaders and managers.

A second important driver is our pedagogy.

Our single minded pursuit of teaching excellence does not embrace the concept of learning, where students own activity and interaction with the teacher, other students and the learning environment is considered important."

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