Education Minister Fayval Williams is refuting the Jamaica Teachers’ Association’s (JTA) claims that educators are being blamed for the challenges in the sector, a phenomenon which the organisation’s president, Winston Smith, said is adding to teachers’ mental distress.
“I was disappointed to hear you talk about how much blame and finger-pointing there is on our teachers for the ills of the education sector. I have been at great pains to explain why we prefer to be in a world of accountability rather than a world of blame, and let me state categorically that the Ministry of Education, under my stewardship, has never sought to blame teachers or point fingers,” Williams said as she addressed the JTA’s 57th annual general conference in Trelawny on Wednesday.
During his inaugural address on Monday, the new JTA president said that teachers are negatively affected by the blame they are forced to shoulder for the ills of the education sector as they juggle personal responsibilities while teaching amid the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Smith’s declaration somewhat echoed concerns made in 2019 by then JTA President Dr Garth Anderson, who urged educators to seek counselling services to avoid taking out their frustration on their students.