PNP knocks Gov't on face-to-face schoolWednesday, October 27, 2021
BY JASON CROSS
The Opposition People's National Party (PNP) yesterday accused the Government of dilly-dallying with the education and future of the nation's children by not yet deciding when it will reopen schools for face-to-face classes.
At a virtual press conference to discuss the state of education in Jamaica, PNP junior spokeswoman on education Rasheen Roper-Robinson challenged the Government to do less talking and put something concrete in place for schools to reopen. She chided Prime Minister Andrew Holness for stating that vaccination is the only way to go if students are to return to the classrooms for face-to-face lessons and told him not to apply such a one-size-fits all approach towards citizens.
“UNICEF has been calling on the Government to put something in place for schools to reopen. At this point there needs to be a drastic movement beyond discussions, Cabinet meetings and subcommittee discourse. I am not sure what is coming out of these meetings,” Roper-Robinson said.
“Martin Luther King Jr spoke about education's function being to teach one to think intensively and critically. Education that stops may prove the greatest menace to society.
“The Government has clearly strayed from thinking of what the role of education is supposed to be, because they are having too many meetings, discussions and looking at proposals. Nothing is being done as it relates to the students returning to the classroom so that society doesn't become filled with menaces,” she said.
The party's spokeswoman on education Angela Brown Burke raised concern that many children are not absorbing lessons taught online, for reasons including domestic violence and mental health problems.
“There is the issue of domestic violence, physical and mental health problems, particularly with individuals who are locked up at home with their abusers. With the increased tension in the family, teachers and caregivers are often moved to deal with the manifestations at school, even without all the necessary professional resources. This sometimes leads to emotional exhaustion and teachers feeling emotionally overwhelmed and stressed,” she said.