Employers should work with parents to brighten youth's future
THE EDITOR, Sir: I went to Independence City Primary School recently, but the school's librarian could not speak to me at the time because she was in the process of dealing with an emergency: a boy needed to see the doctor immediately. I did not mind the postponement of our meeting as the situation at hand needed attention. I was shocked, however, when I overheard the principal saying to another staff member that they made contact with the boy's mother who said she could not attend to her son's needs right then. When my shocked face was seen by the principal, she confirmed that this was a regular problem with parents.
Now in my third year doing business with schools across Jamaica, I have come to realise that many parents are not really interested in the development of their children, and one prime statistical marker bears this out: less than 15 per cent of parents attend parent-teacher association meetings across Jamaica, and probably a similar amount pay auxiliary and other fees.
The fact of the matter is that employers, the Government and trade unions are party to this indirect neglect of the child. The Government still fails to pass legislation that will allow parents time off to attend PTA meetings and other emergencies concerning their child. This is what First-World countries do.
FAMILY TIME IMPORTANT
We need more parents attending PTA meetings, but most important, we need employers to recognise the need for family time for their employees, including frontline staff, not just managers. I would go further to suggest that fees like school and auxiliary fees can be offset by many of these companies as a method of fostering better staff development. A parent seeing the boss contributing to their child's development can be a better worker for the company.
The directors of the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) need to insist that, in order to benefit from the programme, parents should attend PTA meetings.
All of us need to stop the hypocrisy when it comes to taking care of the nation's youth, because they are the ones who are supposed to be assisting when we grow old. When they become dysfunctional because of our present lack of actions, how are they going to be of use to us in the future?
We all must share the blame and we all must make efforts to resolve it.