GREGORY…we are in a changing environment.
The ARCHBISHOP of the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, Dr Howard Gregory, pointed to the breakdown of values and ethics in society and the failure of the education system to seriously address these issues in the school environment.
Speaking last Thursday at a meeting of the bill’s joint select committee of the Jamaica Teaching Council (JTC), the Jamaica Council of Churches and the Ecumenical Education Committee (EEC) – which represents owners of faith-based schools and trust – Bishop Gregory said: “We are in a changing environment. Values are changing, but we believe that we still have room to help shape values. In terms of our current situation as a society, we do maybe a good job of fitting people into the workplace, but as far as we work on things like character building — we’re not doing a particularly good job because we’re not seriously addressing it in our system educational those ethical values that help shape character and personality.
He pointed out that as the entity that invests most in teacher training, denominational schools transmit values to teachers, which inform the perspective from which the church approaches education and are infused in the structuring of the teaching environment.
“The profession itself lacks a philosophy that captures all that diverse perspectives and disciplines bring to our understanding of the human person. This is not to say that there is nothing ethical present, but what informs the practice, the approach to ethics and the type of culture and values that we want to communicate, it is not only a question of transmission or management by the teacher of his personal ethics. . It is the ethics that inform who we are as a people, the ethics that represent the wide range [of persons].”
KHAN…we want to see how teachers are trained
As school owners and operators, the churches want to be considered in the JTC’s consultations on the development of a code of ethics, and have asked that in its development of a continuing professional framework for teachers , the board also consults with school owners as well as bodies which it believes are representative of the majority of teachers.
Ursula Khan, speaking on behalf of the EEC, stressed: “We want to see how teachers are trained because we have to preserve our philosophy.
Government Senator Kavan Gayle urged churches to promote their standards in the education system, outside of legislation.
“What I encourage is the promotion and ongoing education around these standards, and I believe that as owners there is a fundamental responsibility to ensure that this program is continued because we live in a dynamic and changing environment,” he said.
The EEC and the Jamaica Council of Churches are pushing for changes to the bill currently before Parliament that will establish the council and provide broad oversight of the profession, including registration and licensing.