Wed | Oct 4, 2023

Training contact teachers on agenda for JTA presidential aspirant

Published:Friday | June 19, 2020 | 12:16 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer

THE PRINCIPAL credited for the transformation of Constitution Hill Primary and Infant School is one of two Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) president-elect candidates for the 2020-2021 administrative year.

With a population of 42 students and a National Education Inspectorate grade of being desperately in need of support, the school was scheduled to close in 2012.

Winston Smith sold his vision for the East Rural St Andrew school during the summer and commenced the academic year with 88 students.

During his five-year tenure, Smith worked with the teachers and parents to place the school at a satisfactory level.

“The literacy rate moved from 40-something per cent up to 92 percent. We moved the numeracy rate from 37 per cent up to 78,” shared the current principal of Golden Spring Primary.

Smith started his career in teaching at age 18 and is two research papers shy of obtaining his master’s in educational administration from The University of the West Indies.

He has served on the finance, resolutions, and salaries and conditions of service committees of the JTA.

“I am the member of the JTA who represents the teachers at the Ministry of Education on the 50 per cent refund appeal committee. At the last meeting, I won nine of 15 cases that were brought up, and two were sent back for additional information,” he shared.

Should Smith succeed as president-elect, the separation of vacation and study leave would take high priority on his manifesto.

He plans to rebrand and strengthen the role of JTA contact teachers.

“The contact teacher will get a chance to be adequately trained in how to represent the teachers at the domestic level. In being proactive, I want my teachers to have a more harmonious relationship at the domestic level, rather than bringing everything to the head office level,” he explained.

Smith will also seek to advocate for the provision of nurses in primary schools, as is the case in secondary schools.

With more than 20 years in teaching and a decade of experience as a member of the JTA’s general council, he will also seek to ensure that salary claims are properly submitted to the finance ministry for negotiation and that teachers in special positions, such as department heads, are appropriately paid.

The position is being contested by Godfrey Drummond, a senior teacher at Petersfield Primary and Infant School in Westmoreland.