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Teachers Cry Foul, Samuda Says Time for Action

Karl Samuda, the minister with responsibility for education has recently warned that harsh measures are to come as the ministry faces acts of violence in schools. “I can assure you that we are going to take all necessary measures to put a stop to this. The measures that will have to be implemented will be harsh, but it’s something that we cannot compromise on because what is happening today is totally unacceptable,” according Samuda.
Despite Samuda’s recent announcement, many teachers are ignoring his declarations and instead are crying cover up. The second largest funded ministry on the island is about to find itself, staring down another scandal as the teachers are saying that the ministry of education has been aware all along of what has been happening in schools as it relates to the level of violence and rampant behaviour and have turned a blind eye.
The minister’s announcement follows a number of videos in circulation on social media showing violent behaviour by students. The circulation on social media of the recent incidents have led to calls for decisive action by the ministry to address the issue, and recent reports suggest that Mr. Samuda might not be as convinced as others that the situation is as bad as it seems. Instead, Social media is being blamed for what is being described as an exaggeration of the level of violence in schools.
 At a recent press conference for the release of the 2019 National Education Inspectorate Report, Karl Samuda pointed to the ministry placing a greater focus on the involvement of parents and on student development.
In his appeal Samuda said, “Too often, we get sidetracked, believing that the real success in the ministry is to provide more schools, more classrooms, make the buildings much nicer and everything else, and perhaps we are overlooking the most fundamental of improvements that are necessary.”
“Forget about the overemphasis on buildings and focus on the human development, the family, the community, the involvement of the parents with the development of the child.” The inspection report mentioned most schools receiving commendable scores and in addition the minister has declared he wants to see that improvement channeled into homes.
A recent email sent to EDUCATE JAMAICA  by a principal who wishes to remain unnamed, expressed that schools are instructed to report to the Ministry of Education, Youth & Information, a list of all critical incidents on a periodic basis. He further expressed that, for the ministry to act as thou what is happening is unfamiliar and new to them is a reflection of the ongoing poor governance and lack of accountability being displayed by the heads of the various units within the ministry.
The said principal in the email also mentioned that he became a principal in the year 2013 under the PNP administration and as far back as then to his recollection, the then Permanent Secretary and Minister of Education, based on schools reporting should have known about the plight of the teachers and the schools. He also suggested that following the 2016 change of administration, the new minister of education and then permanent secretary should have also known.
The teachers are not crying too little too late, however, many are declaring that this is just further evidence to show that the Ministry of Education for years have turned their backs on teachers and have been out rightly ignoring their cries. They would also like to warn Mr. Samuda against down playing the recent incidents reflecting a problem of violence in schools and would prefer that he focuses on implementing measures as proposed to curb the violence against peers and teachers as well as planned action in relation to homes and communities. The teachers are on the same page as Samuda when it comes to the  statements in regards to parental involvement, student development, the homes and communities, and would like to see him follow through on what they believe to be the right path of what must become a bigger plan to improve national education and outcomes for children nationally.