JIS News

Some 110 schools are to be inspected over the next two school terms, increasing the total to 150 by March 31, 2011.
The disclosure was made by the Chief Inspector of the National Education Inspectorate (NEI), Mrs. Elaine Foster Allen, during an interview with JIS News.
“The NEI, as a project, began in 2008 and one of the things we started in October last year was the pilot inspection of ten schools using the new inspection model, procedures and processes and those were quite successful. We learnt a lot from them and we were able to complete 30 (additional) inspections between April and May of this year. Our target is to complete 150 school inspections between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011,” Mrs. Foster Allen explained. She noted that the inspections thus far were completed in Regions one and two , which comprise Kingston, St. Andrew, Portland, St. Mary and St. Thomas.
According to the Chief Inspector, for the new academic year, she expects schools to continue to respond positively.
“Many of the schools have been very happy with the procedures and the processes used. We actually start by inviting the schools to an awareness-raising workshop, where we go through the inspection process. We give them examples of the sort of things we are looking for, we engage them in discussions about what their role is during an inspection and we want to work in a developmental way and in partnership with the school,” she explained.
“The schools should expect that we will speak as we find, without fear or favour, because we want to keep the schools accountable – teachers, principals and the profession itself. What an inspection helps you to do is reflect very carefully on school processes,” she added.
The Chief Inspector pointed out that the inspections are guided by eight questions, all based on international standards. They include:How well do students perform in national and or regional assessments?How much progress does the student make in relation to the starting point?How well do students develop personally and socially?How effectively does the school use the human and material resources at its disposal to help the student to achieve as much as they can?How well does the curriculum and any enhancement programme meet the needs of students?How well does the school ensure everyone’s security and well being?How effectively does the teaching support student’s learning?How effectively is the school led and managed by the Board, the principal, and senior management staff?In the meantime, Mrs. Foster Allen emphasised that school inspections alone cannot improve the education system.
“It is going to take all hands on deck; every part of the system must work together, whether you are in policy making or you are on the ground teaching a classroom. We must all work together; inspections alone will not improve the system,” she maintained.
The NEI is expected to be an independent statutory body, functioning under the Ministry of Education, and reporting to Parliament.

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