Sister Pat: Parenting classes needed
June 25, 2004
Sister Pat: Parenting classes needed

Principal of the St. Joseph’s Convent Marriaqua, Sister Patricia Douglas, has made a call for the holding of mandatory parenting evening classes here.
This call came as schoolteacher William Abbott delivered the Principal’s report before the 2004 Graduation Ceremony of the rural based secondary school last Friday. {{more}} It was made against the backdrop of problems encountered at the school with students which the educator said are directly related to poor parenting skills.
Sister Pat said that she has come to the conclusion that students are unaware of the direct correlation between their behaviour and the output of their teachers. She also concluded that “the breakdown in the standard social interactions in the home and the disappearance of parental training… has direct impact on the teaching and learning outcomes in the classrooms of our nation.”
She said that the problems do not come from material poverty but from “a different kind of poverty, which both rich and poor suffer from… the abdication of obligations they assumed when they became parents physically.”
She stated that the experience of unconditional love in the home is absent for far too many young people as she said it is rare to find parents who love in a God-like way.
In a similar vein, the Cluny Sister stated that “the school alone cannot be expected to right the breakdown in social order.”
The principal’s report also made a call for the establishment of homework and after-school centres in schools and communities where children can have the benefit of supervised work. This task, she said, could be undertaken by persons as a job, paid by parents or by the government, to supervise homework.
She said that if homework is not being done at home then alternative arrangements must be made for it to be done elsewhere. And she offered that there are many unemployed capable persons who could supervise and assist students at such places. The cost entailed, the principal said, would be a savings for the country in the long run.
The principal also reported on a positive note that the policy for assisted secondary schools is beginning to be implemented with 40% of teachers now being officially employed by the Government, with the remaining teachers to come on stream in 2004 and 2005.
This, although details of the policy are still being worked out, will have financial implications, including the cancellation of all school fees. She, however, emphasized that for parents to be releived of this burden, the government would have to take on the obligation of giving the schools an operating grant.