Education Ministry Urges Expansion of National Parent Teachers’ Association


Minister of Education and Youth, Maxine Henry-Wilson, has challenged the National Parent Teachers’ Association of Jamaica (NPTAJ) to establish more vibrant associations that will play a proactive and supportive role for children, schools and the education system.
She was addressing the NPTAJ’s first annual conference held on (July 6) at the University of Technology Auditorium in Kingston.
She noted however, that even “as we go around trying to multiply the number of parent teachers associations there are, there must be a purpose in terms of what is the quality of the association, what is the mission of the association, how does that association help us to improve what is happening not just in the classroom but in the education system.”
According to the Education Minister, the NPTA was formed on the principle that the engagement of a “critical mass of parents can make a difference in decision making and achieving goals.”
“Our parents, when they are engaged, can make all the difference, not only to their particular child or children, but to the system as a whole,” she pointed out.
Parents, she said, “frequently set the bar for our children. You can’t come and talk about what children are doing in school without us talking about what parents (are) doing to set the example.”
“Our children are living what they see at home. They are living how they are spoken to by their own parents, and they are living what they see in their communities,” she stressed.
In the meantime, the Education Minister asked the NPTAJ to educate parents as to their various roles and the developmental stages of their children, so that they can support the transition process from the basic to the primary school level and beyond.
Parents, she said, must also become familiar with the Grade One Inventory test, which assesses children’s readiness for learning and the timetable of events in the school system, so that they can prepare documents such as birth certificates and examination payments ahead of time and avoid surprises.
With regard to back- to-school preparations, the Association was also mandated to launch a campaign that will rouse parents into starting to prepare their children for September, so that they can begin the school year at an advantage.
“In the final analysis, we want to give our children a quality education. We want to make sure they can stand up beside their peers anywhere in the world,” Mrs. Henry-Wilson said.
“That is what we are asking the National Parent Teachers Association to help us do, because if we say every child can learn, then every child has to have supports; parenting and other kinds of support, supports that give them the kind of education that they can achieve, support that they can be the best there is, support that gives the schools the guidance, the assistance, for what your children will learn,” she stated.
The Association was launched in July 2006 in keeping with the National Task Force on Education Report, which pointed to the need to involve all stakeholders in the education system.

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