Jamaican News

Teachers Urged to View Profession as their Most Valuable Asset

General Secretary of Education International, Fred van Leeuwen, says teachers should view the profession as their most valuable asset and their most effective weapon to realise their democratic ideals and aspirations.

“We should not allow outsiders, self-proclaimed experts, consultancy agencies, and corporations to determine our professional standards,” he urged.

Mr. van Leeuwen, a native of the Netherlands, was giving the keynote address at the 16th Annual Education Conference of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA), at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa, St. James, on April 18.

The General Secretary said a key characteristic of any profession is that its standards, principles and objectives are determined by its members.

“Doctors, architects, lawyers, to give some examples, set their own professional standards, within legal frameworks defined by the public authorities,” he noted.

“But we, teachers and educators, seem to be gradually losing our identity… For that reason, Education International has started developing our own international guidelines for the teaching profession that will help member organisations to take the lead in setting professional standards in their countries,” he added.

The General Secretary said there is no contradiction between “our professional aspirations and the terms, employment conditions and trade union rights we want to achieve. They are complementary.”

Education International represents organisations of teachers and other education employees across the globe. It is the world’s largest federation of unions, representing more than 32 million education employees in 170 countries and territories across the globe.

Article by: Garwin Davis
Photo from: www.jis.gov.jm

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