'The JTA will not surrender'
The Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) says it will not back down on its lobby for better pay for teachers and improvements to school plants.
In a message delivered to coincide with the start of the new school term, JTA President Clayton Hall said there were several outstanding items that were yet to be fulfilled by the Government, some agreed on from 2008.
"Let it be clear to all concerned that, as a resolute team, the JTA will not surrender or retreat as we seek to have Government implement these items," Hall said. "We will not let up in our lobbying for improved salaries and conditions of service for teachers."
Hall noted that 2012 was a challenging year for education and the country. He said 2013 was also expected to be difficult, and so the JTA would be strategising as to how best to position itself for what lies ahead. Hall said the JTA was also watching carefully how the Government would approach the repair of schools damaged by Hurricane Sandy in October of last year, especially Portland, St Thomas and St Mary.
He said the association was looking ahead to the deadline of Vision 2030.
"The JTA supports the calls for accountability in education and, in particular, in respect of teachers in all capacities."
He said the association was supportive of all efforts and eager to see the development of its teachers' capacity to deliver meaningful educational experiences to students.
"Teacher quality must be given the highest priority in order for us to increase the stakes on our own contribution to nation building," he said. He called for all JTA members to assume increased personal responsibility for the quality of their work output.
"However, the JTA insists that all parties - the Ministry of Education and parents, among others - be also held accountable."
Hall suggested more support was needed, including diagnostic testing of children at the early-childhood level, special-needs intervention at the remedial end of the spectrum, and improved parenting involvement, which he felt were all critical success factors that must be implemented.