This newspaper has made no secret of its belief that the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) is stuck in a quagmire, from which its chance of extricating itself is slim.
The major problem facing the JTA, the teachers union, is an absence of leadership. The JTA's membership, it seems, embraces leaders who are seemingly incapable of transcending the crowd and perceive glory in espousing populist ideals.
Perchance Mark Nicely, the association's new president, was minded to reform the JTA, which has grown lazy and moribund, he's likely to be trapped by the Byzantine governance system and a culture of its permissiveness. We were reinforced in this view by the boorish behaviour last week of Doran Dixon, who in a year's time will succeed Dr Nicely in the JTA's top post.
In the meantime, Mr Dixon remains the second most powerful official in the JTA in a position to influence policy.
He previously served as president of the association, when the debate, as it is now, was Jamaica's poor education outcomes and the absence of accountability of the island's teachers. Mr Dixon stoutly resisted performance-based remuneration for teachers and stood for little else that we can recall.
He was, as expected, popular. It was hardly surprising that he was the front-runner when he again recently ran for the JTA's peculiar office of president-elect, from which he will succeed to the presidency in a year's time.
While it was expected that Mr Dixon would oppose Education Minister Ronald Thwaites' proposals for a rollback of some benefits enjoyed by teachers, but which are no longer affordable, we were taken aback that in the midst of the debate, he likened Mr Thwaites to a mongrel.
That Mr Dixon perceived no virtue in an apology and that the JTA's membership felt no qualm, in the circumstances, electing him as their leader, speak volumes of them and their president-elect.
Yet, we still hoped that Mr Dixon would have understood the concepts of shame and decency and their place and context in human behaviour and individual growth. What happened at the JTA's annual conference last week suggests that Mr Dixon grasps neither and casts serious doubts about his ability to offer leadership of any quality to the JTA.
Mr Thwaites, in an act of decency, turned up at the association's conference saying "sorry" for any offence he may have caused in his approach to planned reform to the education system and teachers benefits, and "to make peace" with a constituency he had to work with.
Mr Dixon, in giving a vote of thanks, dissembled on protocol. He then crudely attempted to lecture the minister on the supposed appropriate management of relationship between teachers and their employers.
When Dr Nicely intervened to short-circuit the obvious discourtesy, Mr Dixon, "at the insistence of the president", curtly offered his thanks to "the ministry team", but not specifically to Mr Thwaites.
Therein, we fear, Mr Dixon set the tone for his own presidency in a year's time, but worse, how, in the meantime, he is likely to attempt to shape's Dr Nicely's.
If Jamaica and the JTA are lucky, Dr Nicely will push back hard and run far and fast from Mr Dixon. In that event, education may find some hope.
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