A national association of parents and teachers is sorely needed
Getting Back on Track by Roy Paul
Kaieteur News
January 27, 2007

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Whether we should abolish corporal punishment in the schools of our country has been a burning issue for a long time on the national front, just as it is in all other societies, even in those of the so-called sophisticated nations of the world.

The very fact that it is such a controversial topic, being debated at all levels of society, must inform us that the advantages and disadvantages of this form of discipline seem to be balanced, and that, while modern thinking seems to go against the infliction of pain as a means of administering discipline, there is still a large number of people all over the world who feel that the lack of some physical form of punishment, and the fear of this in children's minds, will make it harder to enforce the rules of conduct which are necessary in the training of our children.

One of the reasons why this issue is so controversial is that there is a large gap in the communication channels between the parents of children and the teachers in our schools, and this is the chief reason why we cannot arrive at a consensus on how crucial matters like corporal punishment should be dealt with.

This is so even in the small communities where there exists no vibrant parent/teacher association, and so we should not wonder why there seems to be no progress in the handling of this problem at the national level.

But this absence of correlation of the efforts of these two entities, who together determine the progress of the young generation, is also affecting all other areas of our children's education in negative ways.

The end result is that teachers are blaming the home for the lack of discipline and proper values in the students that come under their charge, while on the other hand parents continue to neglect their responsibilities of providing the love and attention that their children need, and throw the blame on their children's shortcomings onto the school.

We also find that there is no way by which we can develop some sort of common value system in the home and school, and this is the cause of the endless confrontation and disparity in the manner teachers and parents deal with discipline and the inculcation of moral values in the school and home respectively.

In recent weeks, because the issue of corporal punishment has highlighted this inconsistency, a few parents have come out with appeals for some sort of guidance on the proper methods they should use to bring up their children, and I believe that this cry must be heard by those in charge of our schools and responded to by urgent and definite action.

I have previously proposed the establishment of some national body akin to and embodying the community parent/teacher associations which should be operative in all school situations, as I feel that this would serve to bridge the gap between the home and the school, as well as come up with a consensus on general matters like the delicate issue of corporal punishment.

It can also be the channel through which teachers and other experts in child psychology and education provide some sort of instruction to parents on the proper techniques and value systems which they can use in the training of their own children.

I again make this appeal for such a body and hope that it will now be given the attention that it deserves.

OBSTRUCTION OF BUS PARKS IS UNACCEPTABLE

It seems that it is now standard procedure that the bus and hire car parks around the Stabroek Market area are blocked off whenever Parliament is sitting.

Okay, we do appreciate that this highest body in the land must enjoy quietude during its sittings.

But, if one is to assess the inconvenience and suffering that is caused by this, then the other means of effecting this same condition must be seen as the proper alternative to adopt.

As it is, thousands of commuters, who have long distances to travel to and from work, are affected in a most devastating manner, during the day, and moreso during the nights.

Apart from having to trudge long distances in darkened streets while bone-weary and hungry from a long day's work, one has to face the threat of being mugged in the dark and congested streets into which they are forced, as now happens as a matter of course.

I only wish that some Minister can experience the dangers and the sufferings that these people have to continually undergo, as I am sure that this would result in an immediate review of this procedure.

What is wrong with the old system of blocking off Hadfield and Water Streets on the one hand, High Street on the other, and enforcing the Silent Zone in the area as was done in the past?

Please, let good sense prevail, and everyone will benefit.