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National Parent Teachers Association: Character education a good move
The teaching of character education in primary schools is long overdue. President of the National Parent Teachers Association (NPTA) Zena Ramatali yesterday welcomed the move. The subject would be taught from the opening of the new school term in September. But secretary general of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) Sat Maharaj said the subject would have no effect on denominational primary schools as it already was being taught there.
The NPTA represents public primary schools. Ramatali added that character education also would benefit parents greatly as they would learn about morals and values from their children. “For years the NPTA has been calling for character education to be taught in schools and we are very happy it is finally here,” Ramatali said.
The Character Education and Citizenry Development Programme was launched at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, St Ann’s, on Monday. Emphasising that education was not only about academics, Ramatali said a breakdown in society often resulted from a breakdown in family life.
That, she said, was where schools had to pick up the slack. She added: “This is where the schools come in... where parents fail to instil values and proper manners in their children, it must now be taught by the schools. “We need to teach children to be courteous, to talk it out rather than fight it out and to learn to forgive and be compassionate.”
On whether the teaching of character education would increase the workload for teachers, Ramatali said that was a subject which also could help teachers improve their lives. She said: “I don’t see it as putting a strain on the teachers. These are life skills. “If a teacher is late for school without a reasonable excuse, what is that saying to the children?” Ramatali asked.
Urging people who enter the teaching profession to do so as a “vocation” rather than mere employment, Ramatali said that would create a more effective and efficient teaching service. Maharaj, however, said pupils from the denominational primary schools already were given a well-rounded education, as a high degree of emphasis was on morals and values.
“Character education is nothing new to denominational schools and it has never ceased to be part of our core subject area,” Maharaj added. He said there was already a slot on the primary school syllabus for religion to be taught but questioned to what degree teachers were actually teaching it.
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