Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones

Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, has urged parents of children with special needs to work with their teachers.

This call came yesterday, as Mr. Jones addressed the official ceremony to re-open the Challenor Creative Arts and Training Centre at Canefield House, Canefield, St. Thomas.

He said: "Among the most important people with whom special educators work, are the parents. Teachers and parents have to form a partnership with the objective of working together towards providing the child with the necessary skills and attitudes for full life development.?? Parents and teachers have to work together to ensure that we are fully able to maximise the potentials and the abilities of all people, regardless of colour, class, creed, race, and ability."??

"We have to bring all of our people up to the maximum of their abilities because at the end of the day the country benefits from that explosion of potential. Where the causes of learning difficulties are not very obvious, it is all too easy for parents to assume that the child’s failure is the teacher’s fault and equally easy for teachers to assume that the child’s failure, results from home conditions…"??

Mr. Jones further noted that it was important that schools make parents welcome and provide "the sort of safe environment which lends itself to healthy dialogue between parents, teachers and communities". ????He said: "Schools do not exist in isolation. Learning facilities don’t exist in isolation. ??Schools must have their doors constantly open to be used by people in the society and community… and other persons in the community should be able to use schools, to adopt schools and make them part and parcel of their own."

Teachers were also told that Government was examining the area of teacher training for special needs children, as there were major considerations and new developments arising in the field. "It is a very dynamic component of education and it is necessary for persons concerned with children with disabilities to keep abreast with developing trends. Continued training should be seen as an avenue for teachers to be more effective in their duties, to increase their skills in analysing learning tasks, to be able to set clear and practical objectives and to be able to plan orderly and sequential programmes, in order to achieve them," the Minister explained.

He also acknowledged that the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College was considering the development of a programme, at certificate level, for teachers in special education.?? "And, I am hoping that we can have that programme soon and persons can make input and create the knowledge base of attitudes and skills to deal with individuals who are differently abled," concluded Mr. Jones.

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