THE EDITOR, Sir:
Congratulations to all those teachers who worked consistently with students as they prepared for the recent Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations. You can now bask in the successes of your students.
Some of you were faced with children who arrived in your classrooms lacking the rudimentary tools that guaranteed success. However, you encouraged, cajoled and prodded them until they caught the vision.
I must, however, turn to The Gleaner's front-page headline of Friday, August 17, 2012, 'Incompetent', where the education minister declared that only 16 per cent of math teachers were qualified to teach the subject.
The Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) has challenged Mr Thwaites to prove it. But the proof of the pudding is in the exam results: less than 32 per cent of students passed mathematics.
The JTA needs to take a reality check. Stop defending incompetent teachers. Some of them are earning a paycheque under false pretences. This applies to other subject teachers as well.
In many cases, efforts made by principals and others to rid our schools of these deadbeats have met with strong opposition from the JTA, which should probably be renamed the Jamaica Truculence Association!
There are also cases where principals, for one reason or another, have refused to get rid of these unprepared, incompetent excuses for teachers. Proper lesson plans are a thing of the past, and as for following curricula, forget it!
A BIG SHARE OF THE BLAME
I strongly sympathise with some of our jobless young men and women who now flood our streets. Many of them were short-changed by underperforming teachers. Ultimately, when the scorecard for our failures is handed down, the education sector will have to take a big share of the blame.
To the JTA: While you protect the rights of teachers, take a keener look at what ails our country. Our children are suffering as a result of your tunnel vision. Send teachers back to the classrooms in September with a deeper sense of what they need to do to turn this around.
To the teachers:
1. Stop capitalising on the school population with the shops you have opened up in the classrooms.
2. Do not abuse sick leave.
3. Pretend that your biological children are part of the same school system you are destroying. You will probably then have a greater desire to treat your students more fairly.
Kudos to you, Mr Thwaites. Tell our teachers a few more home truths!