Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter
The role of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) has been called into question in recent times, with many saying the association is hindering much-needed progress in the sector.
However, Clayton Hall, outgoing president of the association, has dismissed these suggestions. He says the JTA has always been at the forefront of critical developments in the education sector.
Speaking to The Gleaner on Tuesday, Hall said the JTA's mandate is to defend teachers' rights and offer professional development.
He argued that the role of the JTA is to be the teachers' advocate, while the Ministry of Education should be tasked with implementing education policies.
TWO BASIC PILLARS
"The JTA acts on two basic pillars: one is member representation, and the other is professional development, and the fact is we spend more on professional development," Hall noted.
He said, beyond this, the JTA is not in a position to demand anything from teachers, including accountability.
"The expectation that the JTA can demand things of a teacher is ill-founded," he said.
Hall continued to argue: "The JTA has no authority or power in the disciplining, sanctioning, employment or termination of a teacher. So (you can't) ask the JTA to assume a role that it has no authority to do. We have no regulations that would give us any such power."
He said school boards, along with the education ministry, should be tasked with the job of ensuring teachers are performing up to par.