THE EDITOR, Sir:
The emergence of the new minister of education resurrects the old, familiar song of performance-based pay for teachers. Being a teacher for eight years, I am very wary of this initiative, although cognisant that there are teachers who are not performing and treat their jobs flippantly.
However, the question is, are teachers the only public-sector workers who need to improve their performance? The answer is an emphatic no! We have lazy public-sector employees in every sphere who absolutely do no work, ride on the backs of others, and collect their salary at the end of the month under false pretence.
Why isn't performance-based pay not being stressed for other public-sector workers? Have you ever had to visit the hospital and wait for hours to see a doctor and, in the process, be derided, frowned on and treated with scant regard by a nurse?
Have you ever been to one of the ministries' offices and waited for hours for Tom Joe, who has been at lunch for hours, or called an office and been put on hold for half an hour before being spoken to? Have you ever been in a crisis and called the police, who promised to respond promptly, and are still yet to show up?
Teachers do need to lift their performance, but how do we expect them to perform in an environment that is devoid of resources and support from parents and students? The minister of education needs to equip all schools with the necessary resources so that teachers can provide an environment that is conducive to learning.
Can you believe that in this technological age, there are schools without even one computer? Chalkboards separating classrooms? Teachers having to dig into their pockets to buy whiteboard markers and other materials?
Jamaicans need to stop blaming teachers for all the ills in the education system. The teaching-learning process is three-pronged and includes the teacher, student and parent, all interrelated and interdependent on each other. The work of the teachers is futile if it is not reinforced at home.
Boscobel PO, St Mary