JTA head urges teachers to do better
Says change essential for nation's growth
The island's teachers have been charged with taking greater responsibility for the quality of their output as Jamaica moves forward into 2011.
President of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), Nadine Molloy, in a release yesterday, also called for the Government to place a heightened emphasis on improving teacher quality, saying such a push is essential if educators areto make any meaningful contribution to the growth of the nation.
"Teacher quality must be given the highest priority in order for us to increase the stakes on our own contri-bution to nation building," Molloy noted, while adding that the JTA "cannot and will not" absolve itself of any responsibility in the enhancement of educational outcomes.
The JTA head's appeal comes less than a month after the chief inspector's report on the National Education Inspectorate programme revealed a significant level of deficiency in teachers' overall subject mastery at the primary level.
According to the report, tabled in Parliament in December, the level of mediocrity in teachers' subject knowledge at the primary level was of concern as, of 23 primary schools that were inspected, close to 50 per cent received a failing grade.
There have also been ongoing concerns about the quality of teaching at the early childhood and secondary level islandwide.
Molloy, while noting that all players in the system must be held accountable, yesterday asked for more practical support.
"Significantly more support through diagnostic testing of our students at the early-childhood level, adequate and appropriate training opportunities for our teachers, the provision of adequate and appropriate resources and improved working conditions must be among the critical success factors that are implemented," she stated.
The JTA head cautioned that as proposed changes in the education system are embarked upon, the process must be tempered with a clear understanding and respect for existing regulations that govern education.
"We recommend that the process be informed by proper consultation, planning, training, implementation, monitoring and the evaluation of all that is done," she said. "The JTA also advises that for any far-reaching changes to become entrenched, we must engage the creative energies of all parties involved."
Monitoring money owed
Additionally, Molloy warned that as the year progresses, the association will be monitoring the payment of $7.6 billion owed to public-sector teachers by the Government.
Last year, a bitter row between the Government and the JTA ended with the paying out of $500 million from approximately $8 billion owed in retroactive salaries.
The Industrial Disputes Tribunal, which subsequently intervened, stipulated that the remaining sum be paid in three equal instalments over the next three years.
"Be assured, we continue to aggressively monitor the payments of subsequent sums, as well as the future of the payment of the seven per cent increase due to public-sector workers," the JTA president said.
Molloy also took issue with what she described as the unfavourable conditions teachers are forced to battle through on a daily basis.
"The association continues to monitor the unfavourable physical and working conditions and continues to lobby for their improvement, as we recognise that these do have systemwide implications for performance," she said.
"Success has been experienced in a number of areas and the JTA has the highest commendations for those teachers who have formed strong partnerships in their schools and communities, making significant contributions to these achievements," Molloy noted