Not much to celebrate
The Editor, Sir:
Education Week would have passed without much to celebrate.
The results of the Education 20/20, the Grade Four Numeracy Test, point to systemic weaknesses in an already flawed education system.
The continued protest action of the teachers would have contributed to the level of despair and disappointment we feel.
Militancy and strident emotional action seem inimical to the passion and caring that are critical elements to produce change. These elements cannot be legislated, bought or transferred. They are the elements of caring that make a strike immoral, as it penalises the one element that ought not to be hurt - the students.
The Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) stands in a unique position to offer leadership that can influence the change the country desperately needs.
The JTA must go beyond the cause of the teachers and look at the wider issue of the country's children. Judging from the anger, insensitivity and misplaced objectives and emotions I seek to offer the leadership with the following suggestions:
Establish leadership institutes - that will guide the pedagogy into understanding the effects and disconnect of us teachers and debilitating effects of multi-generational poverty/violence on our students.
Set up a trust fund from the $23 million per month from membership fees that teachers can access to relieve pressures in the classroom.
Research and development - engage the service of academics and other qualified individuals to examine cultural/pedagogical challenges to student learning and find and or develop solutions.
Keep politics and or other influences or biases out of the JTA.
Encourage and support the development of innovation in the use of technology through grant funding.
Establish within the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission a category for the development of age-appropriate literature and short stories for children that will expand the reading stock in each classroom.
Students, the association and teachers will all benefit.
I am, etc.,