Paul Adams
Years Served: 
2011 to 2012

Paul Patrick Adams is a man with big visions, big dreams and big ambitions.

He is on the cusp of his second term as President of the Jamaica Teachers' Association, JTA and, like it was on his first occasion in 2001, the no-nonsense leader, father and mentor is brimming with anxiety to take on the deficits of a profession with which he's long had an affair. It's why Adams' focus for this conference year is simply the status of schools to deliver the quality education that is required.

"I am looking at Vision 2030 and we now need to put down the specifics in terms of minimum standards for schools," said Adams, the principal of the St. James-based Herbert Morrison Technical High School and the 47th JTA President.

Born in Williamsfield, St. Elizabeth, Adams has had a distinguished association with the JTA for more than twenty years. But his enthusiasm and commitment has never waned. "It is for me to protect the profession, the institution and the children of Jamaica. Apart from breathing, that contribution from me is second nature," the Bethlehemite said. Indeed, long before he enrolled at the Bethlehem Moravian College (then the Bethlehem Teachers' College) in Malvern, St. Elizabeth, Adams' love for the profession was evident. It's the result of the influence of dedicated teachers like Miss Lou and N.L. Samms why at the age of ten, Adams would teach his peers and even chairs and rocks, would use charcoal to mark on the chalkboard and feel fulfilled doing it.

His early preparation was at Aunt Lou's Basic School, the Barbary Hill Primary and then the Newell Secondary School before he enrolled at the Bethlehem and later the University of the West Indies, Mona.

Adams' long association with the JTA includes serving as President of the North East St. Elizabeth District Association in 1989; Contact Teacher at the Balaclava Secondary School from 1987 to 1991; Member Education and Research Committee 1994-1995; Chairman Resolutions Committee 1994-1995; and Member of the Central Executive and General Council.

Paul Adams recognises that although he is assuming the leadership of the JTA after the settlement of the protracted public sector retroactive pay dispute, there are many other issues to which he will have to attend.

He's relying on the confidence invested in him by the thousands of teachers who elected him President as well as his mentor, former JTA President, Dundee Hewitt. "The methodology of how we do things continues to be the same - consultation, discussion, cooperation - but then we have to react," Adams affirmed.

"As we afford the experiences of the teachers to the Ministry of Education, in terms of how decisions are made and what decisions are made, if it comes to a time when we have to engage broader Jamaica with an impact that will drive national government to react in the interest of education then we will have to do that," he warned.

Adams is also assuming the reins of the JTA at a time when classroom teachers may be the most qualified in the history of the profession. He maintains that teachers must be held accountable for their performance and that those who fail to meet their obligations must be dealt with according to the stipulations of the Education Code of Regulations. "It must apply," Adams asserted.

"Section 55 of the Education Code outlines the conditions under which teachers can be separated from their jobs, if they have been found to be in breach of the set standards. We will have to make sure that the code applies across the board, because the prescriptions are there to follow, given that it outlines specific steps and action that can be taken against those persons who are not performing in the classroom."

"I will be spending considerable time during my presidency to sensitise teachers that the law will not make excuses for those who are not performing" Paul Adams opines that the same scrutiny should apply to those who are at the levers of power. "It's a pity that there is no code of conduct for the politicians who are in breach," he remarked.

However, Adams warns that the Government will be held to account under his presidency. "We are going to be spending a lot of time, putting the Ministry of Education and the Government in an examination room, handing them their test papers - a part of it being their Budget speeches and their manifestos - and we will grade them to see where they fall on the performance scale." Adams said this approach will demonstrate that the real problem at all educational levels is the lack of Government input to bring the institutions up to the required standards.

The new President is an avid cricket fan driven by the philosophy: "Every human being has the latent potential to be successful". He has been married to Lisetha for 22 years and is also the father of two children: Imran and Shonice.

Paul Patrick Adams: Diligent and dedicated...fueling potential in the education sector.


The President's Goals

  • To defend and improve the benefits won for the teachers of Jamaica
  • To seek opportunities to advance the professional and academic standards of teachers
  • To improve the communication network between teachers and their professional organisation
  • To lobby for improvement in the conditions of service of the teachers in Jamaica
  • To lobby for the significant increase in the Budget allocation in the education system
  • To ensure that the Jamaica Teachers' Association provides legal representation to its members who face litigation while carrying out their duties and responsibilities.

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