Education Minister, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, has emphasised the pivotal role which Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) play in the development of the country’s education system.
Addressing a meeting of the PTA at Jamaica College (JC) on March 12, Rev. Thwaites contended that PTAs are “most central” to educational transformation in Jamaica.
He pointed out that the role of teachers is deeply intertwined with that of parenting, adding that in many instances, teachers have to “stand in” for parents when circumstances requiring their input arise.
“Therefore, the PTA is no longer the ‘optional extra’. Rather, it is an absolute necessity for the development of children and for the progression of schools. And your role as parents and as teachers, is not just to raise funds and to socialise, but it is to enter into every fabric of school life of the educational enterprise, not to interfere and be disruptive, but rather to be collaborators in the greatest measure of co-operation that is possible,” the Minister argued.
Rev. Thwaites said that noted early childhood education and human development consultant and expert, Dr. Maureen Samms-Vaughn, posits that each person, specifically children, requires at least one person who genuinely has their welfare and interest at heart, to advance their development.
In this regard, he lamented what he described as the decline in Jamaica’s parenting standard, bemoaning that this had “lapsed over many years.” He said that “concerns,” such as earning a livelihood and societal diversions, “have taken from us, the pre-occupation with seeing to our children’s education and upbringing.”
He said some persons are content to conclude that their obligations to their children will have been adequately discharged, once the youngsters are enrolled in school, and dispelled this as a misconception.
“It must remain a challenge for even a prestigious institution like Jamaica College, that you encourage and identify, if not the natural parents, the foster parents, the mentors of each student, if you want that student to develop, and for your mission to be complete. I challenge you (parents/teachers/adults) to take on that responsibility, not only for your own children and wards, but indeed, for every student,” Rev. Thwaites implored.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter