Sat | Mar 25, 2023

Pushback against PTA rep on Teaching Council

Published:Friday | February 3, 2023 | 1:04 AM
Dr Winsome Gordon, CEO of the Jamaica Teaching Council.
Dr Winsome Gordon, CEO of the Jamaica Teaching Council.

Chief executive officer of the Jamaica Teaching Council (JTC), Dr Winsome Gordon, has pushed back at a recommendation from a parliamentary committee to appoint a member of the National Parent-Teachers Association of Jamaica (NPTAJ) to sit on an appeals tribunal to hear complaints from teachers who are aggrieved by council decisions.

Chairman of the joint select committee reviewing the Jamaica Teaching Council bill, Fayval Williams, suggested that under the proposed law, a parent representative should be appointed to the appeals tribunal

Williams received support from Government Senator Natalie Campbell Rodriques, who argued that parents are key stakeholders in the education sector and should have a representative on the tribunal.

A recommendation before the committee stated that the appeals tribunal should comprise a retired judge, a representative of a professional teachers’ association, and a representative of the owners of denominational and trust schools.

Gordon told the committee that the existing tribunal now constitutes a judge, a lawyer, and a representative from the Jamaica Teachers’ Association.

“It is a teachers’ tribunal, and the issues are about teachers. If you look at doctors, doctors don’t have patients on their tribunal. Lawyers don’t have anybody but lawyers on their tribunal,” Gordon insisted.

She said that most of the issues that come before the tribunal are related to teachers’ professional practice.

Asked by Rodriques Campbell if she would support the installation of a parent representative on the tribunal, Gordon said: “I find it difficult.”

Another committee member, Senator Lambert Brown, asked the committee to delay a decision on the make-up of the tribunal to allow members to further consider the matter.