LETTER OF THE DAY - Fire the 'striking' teachers
The Editor, Sir:
Once again, the Gleaner editorial of Sunday, May 2, has captured what many well-thinking educators and citizens have come to realise: leaders of the Jamaica Teachers' Association do not seem to have a clue about leadership.
The education system is an essential service, no less than the security forces. Already, we are on our knees bowing before the criminal elements that operate at will, kill our children and rob our seniors. Now those whom we entrust with educating our children are holding them at ransom over unpaid remuneration. Does the Government have the will to put an end to this illegal activity? Or will we wait for the police and the nurses to join the teachers in striking at the same time? When the society accepts that the only way to get results is to strike and block roads, we must also accept that we have failed as a people.
teaching is a passion
Too many of those we employ to teach in our schools are incapable of disciplining themselves, much more lead the children. They are not properly trained, they cannot even speak the language, they are lazy and they do more harm than good to the education system. Teaching is not a profession, it is a passion. Those who are giving of themselves and making the supreme sacrifice are brushed aside for those more vocal and abusive to those whom they are called to serve.
The Government, to my knowledge, has not denied their obligation to the teachers; they are saying 'we do not have the money at this time'. What do the teachers (and the nurses) want? Borrow the money to pay them, or just raise taxes once again?
insensitivity and unreasonableness
We should no longer sit idly by and watch our most treasured heritage (our children) crumble before the insensitivity and unreasonableness of a few. I strongly support paying teachers adequate compensation, but they must earn it. Reasonable managers understand that the setting of performance standards is a prerequisite to an equitable system. When done properly, it lends itself to transparency. It gives employees standards by which they can judge themselves; and it makes it easier to understand and manage the psychological contract between employers and employees.
The Ministry of Education should demonstrate that it is in control of the education system of the country. It should negotiate in good faith with the teachers, and if there is no compliance on behalf of those we support by our taxes, then fire the 'striking' teachers!
I am, etc.,
Dr DANIEL E. FIDER
Associate Professor of Leadership
Northern Caribbean University