Students have already been rewarded; pay the teachers and recognize the parents

Dear Editor,

I wonder if the government was employing a Machiavellian strategy by having staged an awards ceremony for outstanding students at the CXC and CAPE examinations. Maybe it was primarily to capture the hearts and consequently the votes of these young students at the next poll.

These young achievers have already been rewarded in many ways, eg, the issuance of their certificates, a qualification for a job in adulthood, the path being carved for higher education, praise and recognition from all and sundry and in some cases, monetary bestowals or gifts. They are already grounded. It is hardly likely that these children will be sidelined from their path of success.

Of course these young achievers should be rewarded and given all the support available. However, they have achieved their results due to a lot of effort from their parents and teachers. These people should also be the ones being rewarded. Unlike the students, teachers could put down their tools at any moment. Actually, they had chosen to do so last year. That was because of inadequate salaries. The result of a strike would have been that parents would have had to secure private tuition to replace the hours lost at school. That would have been an additional strain for parents and would have affected the amount of money they would otherwise have been able to spend on their children. This might have had an adverse effect on their children’s academic performance. That remains a theory which fortunately never had the opportunity to be tested. It is not my intention to be a prophet of doom. However, we cannot afford to take chances with the bedrock of our development and well-being. Like students, our teachers need recognition and increasing financial rewards if we are to produce an exponential increase in academic achievement. This strategy should be an incentive for teachers to put greater effort into their job and to open the door for the recruitment of those with higher qualifications. Students could suffer emotionally and psychologically if they witness acknowledgement going to them and none to their teachers. They are smart enough to see the wrongdoing in such an action. This is a recurring display of the government missing out on grasping opportunities that are within their reach.

Teachers are the people we depend on to make our students attain qualifications in order to obtain the best available wages in their adulthood. Therefore, teachers are deserving of some of the highest wages and parents deserve the greatest recognition.

Yours faithfully,

Conrad Barrow

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