LETTER OF THE DAY - Teachers' protest is immoral
The Editor, Sir:
Please afford me the opportunity to express my profound disappointment as a teacher myself in the leadership of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) as it seeks understanding of its(/our) plight from parents and the general public.
The leadership rejected as unacceptable, the Government's consistent claim that it does not have the funds to honour the agreement. The association further rejected as unacceptable a proposal to utilise funds designated for incremental payment.
As difficult as it is for us as teachers to hear these proposals and explanations, we must not extricate ourselves from the realities to which we all are witnesses. Let us ask ourselves three simple questions:
- Is the Government adopting this position out of spite or malice?
- Is there a genuine inability to find the funds?
- Will the actions we are about to take hurt the children or the Government?
The president can give no assurance as to how his proposed action will affect students, only they can and they have not. To think as he does that we can desegregate education or learning into cultural, sports or syllabus is simplistic. Academic advancement comes from many platforms all intertwined.
The words of the newly appointed commissioner of police that the level of inter-gang murders outstrips the capacity of the police force is frightening, but even more frightening is the reality that gang members are made up largely of the poorly educated who have passed from our hands as teachers. The planned withdrawal of any service that may facilitate learning for however fleeting a time is immoral and must be condemned by all well-thinking people.
The fact is that we have failed as teachers, and we are led by leaders who have failed. In many of our institutions, six students out of a cohort of 240 are passing English and mathematics at the CSEC level, but failure has been allowed to persist for so long that we have accepted it as the new norm.
My salary has moved from $55,974 in 2006, to $130,747 in 2010.
Until and unless the JTA can prove to me that the Government has the funds to pay and refuses to do so, then this association has no basis to whip up teachers' emotions in protest action. Protesting what?
We can and we must wait, for the good of this country and our children. This kind of leadership or association we can clearly do without. No parent should ever consider 'the plight' of the teachers. It is the plight of us all, government workers, governments locally and internationally, parents, and the public at large. Let's make the sacrifice and exercise the patience.
I am, etc.,