Don't let them hijack education, int'l educator warns teachers


Fred van Leeuwen, the general secretary of Educational International, says that the teaching profession is in jeopardy of being hijacked by the agendas of politics and corporations and is urging the nation’s teachers to hold on to their identity and not bow to strict marching orders.

The international educator made the comments while addressing Tuesday’s opening of the 16th Annual Education Conference at Hilton Rose Hall in St James.

“We teachers, educators seem to be gradually losing our identity and are being transformed from a teaching profession into a teaching force,” van Leeuwen told the gathering of teachers, principals, and union heads. “We call it ‘deprofessionalisation’, and it is one of the main challenges affecting our sector today.”

The Netherlands native further said that outside interferences are a threat to the future of the profession and gave the message that education is too important to be left in the hands of teachers.


“I believe that our profession is our most valuable asset. Our most effective weapon to realise our most democratic ideals, aspirations, and we should not allow outsiders, self-proclaimed experts, consultancy agencies, and corporations to determine our professional standards,” said van Leeuwen.

“We know that the pathway to a sustainable future travels through our classrooms, but we face a crossing of roads. One leads to deprofessionalisation – weakening of our public schools, privatisation, commercialisation, and a continuity of inequality in society. The other roads lead to a new vision for the teaching profession – quality education, equity, justice, and sustainable growth. My key message is: we are not, and must not be, mere bystanders watching to see which road our governments will take.”

… Conference to focus on revolutionising teaching practices

The 16th Education Conference has been organised by the Jamaica Teachers’ Association and is being held from April 18 to 20 under the theme ‘Connecting the Dots: Revolutionizing Educational Practices for the 21st Century’ at the Hilton Rose Hall in St James.

The event aims to explore effective strategies to enhance educational leadership and governance, review current education policies, bring together stakeholders in the education sector, and more.

Among the panel discussions to take place over the three days are talk on legal issues, stress management, innovative educational practices, using animation to enhance teaching and learning, and improving student outcome and school culture.

“These conferences, over the years, have provided a platform for discussion on critical issues in education,” said Howard Isaacs, president of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association. “They have afforded practitioners and policymakers with workable ideas and strategies that have improved the teaching and learning experience as collectively, we ensure the continued development of a world-class education system, empowering and emancipating our people.”

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