Education (Amdt.) (No. 2) Bill
Tuesday, May 02, 2000
schools and vandalism of our schools then there might not have been the need for this glorified Parent-Teacher Association that we are going to call “local school boards”. This is a glorified PTA; that is what it is. The reason for that is the Government needs help to manage its schools, because in some of these government high schools you do not even have PTAs. So what the Government wants to do is to legitimize this instrument to make sure that you have a PTA, but you are not calling it a Parent-Teacher Association; but you will call it a local school board. That is a glorified PTA.
Mr. President, I am very worried when among the duties and powers of the board you have a clause like (e). In this glorified PTA, the local school board, one of their duties would be encouraging, promoting, sustaining and fostering mutual understanding, good fellowship, cooperation among Minister, staff, parents and pupils. You did not put in principal—well, yes, he is a member of staff. That is a very important clause there.
This is trying to tell us, Sir, that something is seriously wrong with that little complex there called the school, which is principal, vice-principal, teachers, ancillary staff and you name it. You are going to tell me that things are so bad that we need a local school board to encourage, promote, sustain and foster mutual understanding, good fellowship and cooperation among the staff? Something has gone wrong. If that is the state of the leadership, what is going to happen in form III?
Why do you need an outside force, a board, a committee, and spend—I have a document here which was distributed—$5 million or something like that, about $5.2 million; the document is entitled: Proposals by the Technical Committee in its Report on Local School Boards”. We are spending $5 million plus to tell the members of staff how they must have good fellowship, cooperation and all this kind of thing. It is a symptom of what is happening in the schools. I feel that this is a maintenance committee; it is a school management committee that you are calling a board, because school principals, vice-principals and teachers are losing control of their classrooms and their schools. That is the problem. It is a basic and fundamental problem.
Mr. President, I just want to say something else before I close. Maybe on another occasion when we are discussing Sen. Ramchand’s Motion on education, so many of these ideas will come up again. The hon. Minister spoke about value- based education. On about three occasions in her presentation she talked about value-based education and I think that is so fundamental and basic.