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Prepare to fight current teaching council bill - JTA president

Published:Monday | June 9, 2014 | 12:00 AM

FALMOUTH, Trelawny:

Dr Mark Nicely, president of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), is not mincing words as he calls his troops to readiness should any attempt be made to pass the Jamaica Teaching Council (JTC) bill in its present form.

Addressing the Trelawny teachers' annual general meeting at the Royalton Resort on Friday, Nicely said: "The JTC bill, colleagues, in its current form, is a dangerous document. Our position would not have changed from the time we made our symbolic march on the Ministry of Education."

In January, Nicely led delegates of the JTA in a demonstration which saw them wearing black and carrying placards as they marched on the education ministry to register their concerns about the contentious bill that seeks to establish the Jamaica teaching council, a body to regulate the teaching profession.

Areas of competence

Of the many concerns Nicely highlighted, was a part of the bill which said teachers can only be licensed for what they are practicing. He said that if a teacher has many areas of competencies, the teacher can only work in one area of competence. He gave the example of a teacher in a school that cannot teach at a university in the evening because the teacher would violate the restriction. He added that a malicious complaint can be made on the teacher and the teacher can be dismissed without a hearing simply because of the mischievous act.

"We have made it very clear that we will leave no stone unturned. We will do everything humanly possible, everything in our powers, to resist this bill if it comes to us remotely close to what we saw the last time," Nicely said on Friday.

He called his troops to the battleground, as he said he heard that the ministry is finishing the document.

"I am asking you to psych up yourself, be prepared to participate in any action that we may need to take to dismiss this particular document," he said.

In his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in parliament on May 7, education minister Ronald Thwaites said the National Council for Education has reviewed all submissions on the JTC bill and the 1980 Code of Regulations. He said the final revised versions of the Education Regulations (2014) and the JTC bill have been prepared and will be reviewed, and then proceed through the legislative process.