'JTA has finally met its match'

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Monday, August 18, 2014

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JAMAICA Observer online readers have weighed in on the renewed tension between Education Minister Ronald Thwaites and the island's public school teachers. The teachers are upset over prodding from Thwaites for them to take their vacation leave outside of the 190 instructional days. However, the Jamaica Teachers Association contends that the current arrangement cannot be changed without consensus. Here are some edited comments:


I kinda understand what Ronnie is saying here. He has a point. I know a teacher's job doesn't end once they leave the school compound, but taking vacation leave when school is in session is not only unbecoming but chaotic.

Still can't understand why they think this should be a public sector thing and not a teacher thing. It's not like crime, sickness, fire etc take a summer, winter and Easter break.


Teacher burnout is a very serious issue, one which my fellow Jamaicans seem to be unaware of. The "long leave", as we call it, was inherited from the British and was put there for a reason.

Al.J Bstn

But didn't the JTA and its teachers reject Minister Thwaites' predecessor overwhelmingly even though he had features in terms of appearance more representative of the majority of the teachers and a product of the local educational system? I see this as an internal conflict in that the master is merely wielding his superior power assigned to a privileged class by a group aligned and which historically supports the PNP. Ronnie can exert his power in any way he chooses because at the end of the day it does not come from an African-Jamaican.


It is time those who are entrusted with educating our nation's children put the children first. These people get so much holidays and still wanting to disturb the teaching periods with vacation leave is nothing short of selfish. They will never get the public backing on this one. I say to the minister, stand your ground; we need to have our priorities right in this country.


What is it with teachers all over the world? They don't want to take instructions from anyone but their ever
militant unions!


Thwaites has a point, but let's all discuss this thing without getting too emotional.


@jayjayja: He has no point. He is confused, and Jamaicans are largely people who ask very few questions.


JTA has finally met its match.


I was kinda thinking the same thing KMnO4, this doesnt strike me as a public sector issue since not every public servant is involved in teaching our students in a very narrow window during the year. I don't think the minister's ask is unreasonable and the teachers' tone here seem overly combative and picky!

Sam Job

If teachers with five years of service are entitled to 4 months' continuous vacation leave whenever, then surely that is going to create a problem with replacing them in the classroom. The same problem of replacement would not be as acute in most public sector areas for obvious reasons.


As someone who is close to the teaching profession, I understand what the minister is saying. But Government officials must understand that you don't go around changing a binding contract anytime you feel like. You must go to the bargaining table to discuss the matter. Please understand that taking away certain negotiated part of a teacher's contract will lead to teachers asking for higher monetary rewards.

Everett O'Sullivan

Ronnie will soon direct teachers to plan their pregnancies... to ensure that they give birth right at the onset of the summer holidays, with only two months being allowed for maternity leave! Dwl!


Genetical connection between the JTA and one of our political parties is a big part of the problem and
this inappropriate close relationship could explain attitude and behaviour.

Mark Trought

This minister is a loose cannon to say the least.

Collin B

Wow! Eight months vacation after 10 years of service? No wonder the country is in the state it is in. So, they don't work after 10 years of service. Who negotiated these terms? The management team should be indicted.


So let me get this straight, the teachers want to take vacation during school session and still be off during school holidays? Am I correct on this?




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