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President of the National Parent Teacher’s Association of Jamaica (NPTAJ), Miranda Sutherland, is calling on parents not to stage demonstrations, but instead, to utilise the organisation to address their concerns.
“The PTA acts as a forum, through which differences between parents and teachers can be resolved by mediation. As a national body, we are trying to get our PTAs to understand that they have a mediatory body, they don’t need to take matters in their own hands, for instance, when a PTA or group of parents decide to demonstrate. We are saying to these persons, get in touch with the National PTA,” she said, during an interview with JIS News.
“We have our location at the Caenwood Centre in Kingston, and immediate contact can be made with us, through the Ministry of Education…Parents have their PTA bodies, their school administration that they can speak with, and they have the National body if they need to come directly to us,” Mrs. Sutherland added.
The President also pointed out that there are many benefits to be derived from being a part of the PTA.
“The PTA, as an organisation, is one in which parents and teachers work in partnership as advocates, to improve the life of every child in the respective school, ultimately the whole nation…developing a shared vision and creating a plan of action that expands the capacity of the community to undertake effective problem solving in the schools. So, it covers a wide area of activities,” Mrs. Sutherland noted, while pointing out that parents need to understand their PTA’s importance.
“The PTA is also the major forum through which parents and teachers communicate and so we are seeking, as an association, to get our parents to understand the importance of being present at PTA meetings. It should be broad based, with as many parents and teachers as is possible being directly involved,” she emphasised.
According to the President, the PTA helps parents to be directly involved in their children’s education and to develop proper parenting skills.
“A PTA affords parents and community members the power to directly influence the educational process and so effect changes that see the home and school community being less divergent, so it should be a vehicle that enables the achievement of common goals for all stakeholders. It’s important to note that the PTA assists parents in developing the skills they need for the proper upbringing of their children, and so raise standards of home life, which is very critical at this point in time,” she said.
In the meantime, the President pointed out that even though some teachers might question the parent’s right to address certain issues, she is assuring parents that, “they have the right to enquire what is being taught to their children, and to understand the curriculum, so they can give the guidance, where support at home is concerned.”