Holness Says He is Not Casting Blame for Students’ Poor Performances


Education Minister, Hon. Andrew Holness, has said that his efforts to encourage stakeholders to play their part in the education process, should not be interpreted as casting blame for students’ poor performances.
“When I speak, I don’t want you to have the impression that all I do is blame the teachers,” Mr. Holness told the Jamaica Teachers Association’s (JTA) 16th Golden Torch Award Ceremony for Service in Education, at the Hilton Kingston Hotel on Thursday (July 2).
“My role is to call all the partners together and ensure that they are playing their proper role. If parents are playing their proper role, teachers will be able to perform much better than they are performing now,” Mr. Holness explained.
However, he said that when the performance issue is highlighted, no one in the sector is willing to accept responsibility.
“What is clear is that no one is taking responsibility when the issue of performance is raised. We all agree that we need better performance to create a 21st century education system. Well, we are not going to wish it into being,” Mr. Holness argued.
He said that he could not accept the lack of resources as an excuse for poor performances.
“If I were to accept that, might as well I just pack up and go home. The resources that we have, we must make the best use of them. Whatever we have, let us use it the most efficient way we can,” he implored the teachers.
He suggested that the realignment of the responsibilities of all the partners in the process, including teachers and parents, could be the answer.
“Let us realign the responsibilities that the partners have. Let us reassign the proper roles where they ought to be. Your success as teachers depends upon how well you can carry out real duty as teachers. Your ultimate role is to inspire students to learn,” he said.
According to Mr. Holness, teachers are being distracted by the lack of preparation that students come to them with.
“The failure of parenting, which is usually considered as a private function in the family, has a tremendous social impact on the education system, so you spend a great deal of time correcting issues with discipline that really ought to have been corrected from the home,” he said.
He added that, like the teachers, he wanted to see a modern, efficient, effective, equitable, accessible and first class education system in Jamaica.
The Golden Torch Award for Service to Education was instituted by the JTA, and gives recognition to teachers who have given long and meritorious service to education in Jamaica. The award is presented annually to teachers with a minimum of 35 years of service to education.

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