Teachers’ strike is out of question

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The first term of the 2014 school year begins tomorrow and, as expected, brings along a lot of anxiety among students beginning Grade One and Form One and of course their parents who can only dream what awaits their children at their new schools.

NewsDay Editorial

Even returning pupils proceeding into new grades have a lot of anxiety over what is in store for them in the new year while the excitement of reuniting with old friends also pervades all schools. It is a period of excitement and anxiety coming after another one of hardships and worry among parents that have struggled to raise money for school fees and uniforms to enable their children to be at school to prepare their future.

The last thing that any parent or student would want after all this is disruption of the education that everyone has awaited and worked so hard for. It would be a disappointment of tragic proportions if anything were to come in the way to disturb this smooth flow of expectation.

There has, in the past weeks been talk of threats, deliberately being thought out by certain individuals, whose strange ideas have been to disrupt the process of learning as soon as schools open tomorrow. There are people who have been trying to convince teachers to go on strike so as to cripple the education system in a bid to force the government to increase salaries for teachers. The effect would be to shatter the dreams of millions of children and troubling the minds of their parents.

Those that are nurturing this mentality may have reason to want to do this — good reason even — but there is no justification ever, to punish innocent children or to use them as pawns in a fight between adults over money.

Just as government has made it abundantly clear that children should never be sent away from school because of their parents’ failure to pay school fees, it should also be made equally clear that nobody should be allowed to make children suffer by going without teachers because of a fight over salaries.

What, however, brings some comfort is that even without government cracking the whip against teachers’ strike, the likelihood of the teachers opting to embark on job action is as unrealistic and insensible as it is fatalistic and suicidal.

The simple reason why teachers should not be fooled into taking the stupid job action route, especially the majority that are employed in urban schools where such action usually starts, is that they risk losing the much-needed incentives.

Incentives are a token of appreciation given to teachers by parents who want their children to be taught and so, if teachers were to withdraw their services, parents would most certainly withdraw the incentives — and not reinstate them even after the unfaithful teachers eventually decide to return to work after whatever period of absenteeism.

Instead of mulling strike action, we expect teachers to go into class to do their job for which parents are paying them that extra cash — and to do the job well so that parents are not ripped off again by these same teachers in the form of extra fees for unnecessary extra lessons!

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