Two hundred and seventy-two educators entering the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College were assured that the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training is committed to stopping the violence and deviance in the school system.
Dr Patrick Rowe, the director of High Education Development Unit (HEDU) made the remarks at the orientation ceremony of the 2019-2020 academic year.
“The ministry is committed to improving the physical and social environment at our schools. We want you and the children you teach to be able to operate in spaces that are more conducive to teaching and learning . . .
“You have a right to work in an atmosphere that is safe and free from threats to your life, limb and property. We will do all in our power to make our schools safe. We will not tolerate students, parents or others who threaten you, abuse you, or physically harm you,” Dr Rowe promised.
He explained that the education system was faced with the challenge of finding alternative methods to tackle the “growing wave of aggression and violence” in schools.
Dr Rowe suggested that the traditional approach of using “the rod of correction” was not the answer to arresting the problem.
“Our children must learn how to solve problems and settle disputes in ways that do not involve fighting, stabbing, shooting and killing. We will not achieve development that is sustainable if we do not confront and address this trend,” the researcher said. “Preventative action is essential, as well as the development of a culture which inculcates values of peace and a respect for human rights.”
While expressing his concerns about the literacy deficit in the education system, Dr Rowe commended the College for its Diagnostic and Early Intervention Centre. However, he suggested that the diagnosis and remediation of Mathematics should also become a priority for the teachers’ training college.
During his feature address, the head of the HEDU, also reminded the educators of the importance of their contributions. He told them that their jobs were not limited to correcting papers and ensuring children passed examinations, but that they also contributed to the development of the moral fabric of their charges.
“Your job is not just to teach children to pass an examination or to produce workers to satisfy employers. You must contribute to developing a learning society, so that our citizens can achieve whatever they want to achieve and that they can be trained and retrained when that becomes necessary.
“You must help children to develop that moral compass, that character which will guide how they will interact with each other and with our institutions,” Dr Rowe urged.