Dialogue more, leave management to teachers, says trade unionist
Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer
Danny Roberts, head of the Hugh Lawson Shearer Trade Union Education Institute, says the Government continues to ignore two fundamental principles as it seeks to drive educational reform in Jamaica.
Roberts made the observation while delivering the keynote address at the opening session of the Jamaica Teachers Association's (JTA) Annual Conference at the Hilton Rosehall Resort and Spa, Montego Bay, yesterday.
Rules of engagement
According to Roberts, the first principle relates to the rules of engagement between the Ministry of Education and the JTA that frame the conduct of their relationship. He said the second principle revolves around the need to define the primary drivers for the success of the education reform in Jamaica.
"It is firstly to recognise that the governance and management of the education system must be in the hands of school leaders and managers. A second important driver is our pedagogy. Our single-minded pursuit of teaching excellence does not embrace the concept of learning, where students' own activity and interaction with the teacher, other students and the learning environment is considered important," the trade unionist said.
Time for Dialogue
Roberts insisted that education reform cannot continue on a path which appears in the public to be pitting teachers against the minister of education and his technocrats.
"What it means is that both sides must sit and talk about the rules of engagement going forward ... . Dialogue is the course to be pursued and the only alternative to dialogue is more dialogue. And so, there needs to be a meeting to establish a protocol to guide how issues are dealt with by both sides," Roberts said.
Roberts described as "Goliathian bureaucracy", the manner in which government has approached the creation of a proposed Jamaica Teaching Council and the move to enact legislation that would give the minister of education the right to transfer teachers from one institution to another.