Minister Reddy: Don’t Blame Teachers

Teachers are not to be blamed when students, after numerous counselling, are suspended for causing disturbance to learning environment, says the Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts, Mahendra Reddy. Mr
30 Sep 2015 08:10
Minister Reddy: Don’t Blame Teachers
Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts, Mahendra Reddy.

Teachers are not to be blamed when students, after numerous counselling, are suspended for causing disturbance to learning environment, says the Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts, Mahendra Reddy.
Mr Reddy was referring to a Year Four student of Sangam Primary School in Labasa who was transferred to Saint Mary’s Primary School last week.
Mr Reddy said he received a call from a Year Four student’s grandfather alleging that his granddaughter was repeatedly being bullied by a classmate.
“I immediately contacted Northern Divisional Education Officer Sumiran Pratap to conduct an investigation and Mr Pratap had a meeting with the families of the two students,” Mr Reddy said.

Background information
According to the Ministry of Education’s Labasa office investigation, the headteacher of the school, Dalip Chand, had received many reports from Year Four class teacher about the boy fighting and bullying the girl. They are nine years old.
Mr Chand always counselled them.
After further investigation, Mr Chand came to know that the children are neighbours in Tuatua and the boy is from a broken family and looked after by his grandmother.
He said the two children always witnessed arguments at their homes.
Mr Reddy said when a student continuously disturbed the learning environment, the head of the school must intervene and take definitive actions.
“What the headteacher or principal will do, they will counsel the student and if he or she does not change his or her behaviour after numerous counseling sessions, the head of the school will call the parents and have a meeting,” he said.
“The headteacher allows parents to talk to the child and help change his or her behaviour. If the student continues to disturb the learning environment despite parents being involved, then the headteacher has no choice, but to suspend the student.
“Now with respect to the case in Labasa, we had to finally move that student to Saint Mary’s Primary School.
“We did this to see whether the different environment will help the student to realise that unexpected behaviour is not acceptable in the school system.”
“If we find the same problem persist in that current school that we might have to suspend the child because we cannot have a child in the school system which destroys the learning environment of the other children gaining knowledge.”
Mr Reddy said he received a similar report from a school in Tavua.

A teacher is not to be blamed
“Teachers have often faced difficulties when students refuse to submit their homework,” he said
“There have been reports where teachers raised this issue to the head of school and parents are called in.
“Despite parents being told and guided how to help the child do his or her homework, students continue to have their own way.”
Mr Reddy said with respect to students not participating fully in class activities, teachers might not be able to do too much, but if the student disrupted the learning environment and despite many counselling then they had to suspend the child.
“In serious cases where students do not show any improvement they will eventually be suspended. The school system cannot entertain students disturbing the learning environment of other students who are focused in school to gain knowledge.
“But with respect to students not participating in class with not submitting homework or doing homework that is something that we will continue to talk to the student council and engage parents but beyond that we would not be able to do much.
“In these cases, a teacher cannot be blamed,” he said.

A teacher and student relationship
A teacher is always the second parent of the child, says Mr Reddy.
“This relationship is what we are looking at all the time. This relationship and the trust that the parents are bestowing on our teachers is a complete norm and we do not want to see any teacher break that trust.”
He said a teacher should look at the student like his or her child.
“I have not received any reports where a teacher has mistreated or misbehaved with a student because our Ministry has often made itself clear that a student teacher relationship must be maintained and anything beyond that is unacceptable.”

Mr Reddy called for increased parental engagement especially during the holidays and efforts should be made for constructive use of this break time.
The ministry as usual will allow students to go on eight-week break, he said.
However, students are advised to spend time with their families and engage in some learning activities like sports or music.
Mr Reddy said students should take a good break and spend quality time with their parents.
“There are many organisations that organise school holiday programmes like art and craft, sports and teaching how to use musical instruments,” he said.
He said students should do things that were not structured and not like a classroom-based programme, otherwise the purpose of school holiday serves no meaning.
He said students should be allowed to enjoy their break and get their minds refreshed for a new school year. Nevertheless, he said parents should monitor their children’s whereabouts and see that they do not get indulge in criminal activities.

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