In the old days parents supported teachers in their efforts to discipline students
Stabroek News
November 18, 2001

Dear Editor,

The current upsurge of matters relating to indiscipline in schools should cause great concern to all educators in Guyana.

Undisciplined behaviour has always existed. However, the methods used to deal with this problem have been changing rapidly over time and as a result are impacting negatively on our educational system, thus creating havoc.

Years ago, educators were given the support of parents and officials within the educational system to exercise their authority in combating problems of indiscipline, for example writing lines and flogging. Today, teachers are being rebuked, looked down upon, disrespected, beaten and even taken to court for trying to maintain discipline in schools. Teachers are called and viewed by society as abusers when they seek to reinforce discipline, for example, a student may demonstrate inappropriate behaviour in school such as rudeness, substance abuse, defacing school property or using indecent language in the presence of teachers, When teachers respond to such behaviour by taking necessary action the parent and student cry abuse and are even given support by others in position of authority.

It is fair to say that the current methods used or implemented such as cleaning the school's compound, wiping windows and suspension as forms of punishment to combat indiscipline in schools are ineffective. It is time for us as educators to review these methods urgently, if we want to improve the quality of human resources in our country. Let us not eliminate all those methods that were used before in the olden days, that were tested and proven effective. Let us compare the individuals in society of yesteryear and ask ourselves if these are the kinds of individuals we need in our schools and society. Let's not pattern ourselves after developed countries such as the USA but let's emulate patterns of training children that will enhance our society. If we consider the path that developed countries like the USA have taken, we would realize that it has resulted in lowered standards of morals and discipline.

The constitution clearly recognized the rights of the child but failed to define the rights of teachers. It is no wonder that our qualified and experienced teachers are emigrating in large numbers to places where they are given more credit for their efforts to curb indiscipline. Should the ineffective methods continue to be fully implemented highly qualified and experienced teachers who have remained will soon vacate their positions here and seek greener pastures. Even though they may have indisciplined students we are sure that the financial gains are rewarding enough and that better systems of punishment are in place. Furthermore, the rights of teachers are better represented.

Our Teachers' Union needs to play a more significant role in fostering the authority of a teacher in light of discipline or indiscipline since officials within the educational system do not support them, yet these same officials demand that teachers give of their best and maintain discipline within the school system.

Yours faithfully,

(name and address provided)