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JTA book list stance upsets parents

Published:Friday | June 13, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter

The National Parent-Teachers' Association of Jamaica (NPTAJ) has come out strongly against the Jamaica Teachers' Association's (JTA) pronouncements that teachers should disregard the Ministry of Education's master book list.

"The NPTAJ stands firmly with the decision made by the Ministry of Education in revisiting the textbooks situation, with a view to assisting parents with information to purchase books wisely," the parent-teachers' association head, Everton Hannam, told The Gleaner yesterday.

Hannam said there is nothing wrong with the ministry's decision to create a master list for supplementary books that should be used in public schools.

In a statement yesterday, the education ministry said it would not abandon its course of action to provide a master book list for grades one to 11.

Parents concerned

The release said that the ministry's decision to create a master list of approved supplementary textbooks was in response to the concerns raised by parents.

The ministry also called on JTA to clarify its position, noting that they had a meeting with the association earlier this week and no such concern was raised.

Speaking at a meeting at the JTA's headquarters in Kingston on Wednesday, Dr Mark Nicely, president of the teachers' union, said educators were to proceed until apprehended and then the association would step in to defend them.

He said teachers were the ones in the classroom and were more qualified to decide what books are best for students than those sitting in the ministry's office.

However, Hannam said: "They mention the question of experts; teachers are experts and 120-odd schools still can't get students to pass five or more CSECs (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate)? Come on!"

He said the statements made by the JTA head were unfortunate and should not be coming from the leadership of such an institution.

Hannam said parents are the ones feeling the pinch when they are being asked to find thousands of dollars to buy books that are rarely or never used.

He said the parents are not averse to teachers being a part of the process in selecting textbooks, but the NPTAJ would be throwing its support fully behind the education ministry.