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JTA prepares for challenging school year

Published:Saturday | September 2, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Waugh Richards

New president of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), Georgia Waugh Richards, has put her colleagues on guard for a challenging 2017-2018 school year.

In her back-to-school message, Waugh Richards said the JTA will focus on transforming the education system through engagement, collaboration and solid leadership.

Waugh Richards also warned that while the teachers accept the economic challenges facing the country, the JTA will be going into the upcoming wage negotiations in a strident manner.

The recently installed JTA president used the message to urge parents to contribute in cash or kind to the education of their children, and urged students to set themselves high standards.

JTA president's back-to-school message September 2017

At the beginning of another year, we give the Almighty God thanks for allowing us this privilege, as in the word of 1 Samuels 7 verse 12. "Thus far the Lord has helped us".

The beginning of the 2017-2018 school year comes with some of the many issues with which we grapple year after year, but given the determination of our parents and the steadfast love of the Lord, we face these challenges knowing well that we shall overcome.

This year, the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) focuses on transforming the education system through engagement, collaboration and solid leadership. Together, we must transform our minds and hearts to work together to build a better Jamaica.

The JTA continues to lobby the Government as well as collaborate with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information to ensure a smooth start to this year.

As an association, we are mindful of the current economic situation affecting us as a country. We will, however, continue to make efforts to ensure the well-being of all our members.

We look forward to the Government of Jamaica sitting with us in a timely way with a dedicated effort to improving the lot of our teachers. Colleagues, this week as we return to the bargaining table we will represent your concerns and your expectations in a strident way. You have indeed given us a mandate and this we do not take likely.

Education as we know it is not free. Education is a costly venture, whether through direct or indirect taxes or parent contribution, the education we receive must be paid for. We urge all parents, therefore, to go to your schools and build partnerships. Contribute to the education of your children's school through cash or kind. Collaborate with your child's teacher, by assisting with behaviour modification.

Education is a blessing as it provides opportunities for all to read and write. As a reader, one is able to have a clear, conscious view and one's own opinion of issues. Education allows individuals to make informed decisions.

To the students who will return to schools at the various levels, set yourselves high standards. We urge you not to loiter in the parks and transport centres, but to move with purpose, being mindful of the demon of crime and violence.

For this academic year, love your reading, be determined and diligent, responsible and respectable, be engaged and enthusiastic, be modest and motivated, be self-confident, smart and gain your success.

My colleagues, I know the road has never been easy and the stress mounts on a daily basis, but take good care of your health, take time away to rejuvenate and connect with our God.

As your professional organisation, we will not forget the purpose for which we exist, we will continue to represent your cause, and guard all the gains we have made, while we seek to conquer new frontiers.

We are the vanguards of the education system, and so we pledge our undying support as we say long live the JTA, as we continue to unite and serve.