JIS News

Prime Minister Bruce Golding said a number of initiatives were being developed to help with student re-socialization, as the country tries to fix some of the problems in the education system. He said the problems in education were not entirely about resources, but related to the fact that some students were not receiving the kind of parental and family support that was critical.
He was speaking on the weekend at the official opening of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association’s new headquarters at 97b King Street.
Mr. Golding said some programmes would require the support of teachers, such as the establishment of a youth community emergency corps to be spearheaded by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund in collaboration with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management. The corps would be among the first responders at the community level in the event of disasters. Training is to be provided for students from grade nine upwards, to enable them to respond effectively. Another initiative involves the creation of a parenting foundation which Mr. Golding said has been endorsed by Cabinet. He said the foundation would help parents to develop better parenting skills as a first step to addressing some of the problems in the country’s schools. He said a national transformation programme was also being developed to target communities and help restore values and build community leadership.
Mr. Golding said that unless the country can fix the social and behavioural problems affecting the education system, it would not achieve the desired results from the $57 Billion being spent on education this year. He said teachers were expected to solve the problems in education single-handedly without any assessment of the cause of the problem.
He reminded the teachers that as potters they were only as good as the clay with which they have to work. “You are indeed the potter because of the job that you do. But a potter is only as good as the clay that he works with,” Mr. Golding stated. He added that if the clay is impure, then the pottery that is produced is going to be flawed.
The Prime Minister commended the Jamaica Teachers’ Association for its involvement in many great national causes from colonialism through self-government and into independence, noting that much of the sensitization of the people was done by teachers. The JTA is now better equipped to offer services to its approximately 22,000 members from its new spacious headquarters.