JIS News

Acting Assistant Chief Education Officer, Sharon Neil, has described the Centres of Excellence, which have been established in two rural high schools as timely and in keeping with the Education Ministry’s thrust, to involve the private sector in education delivery.
Speaking recently at the Mile Gully High School in Manchester, she commended the Mutual Building Societies Foundation, for conceptualising and implementing the initiative, that is seeking to deal with weaknesses in rural high schools.
“The Ministry of Education thoroughly endorses collaborative efforts by the public and private sectors to improve education, and this initiative is timely as it is implemented just after the Honourable Minister of Education’s recent announcement, that three academics or high performance centres will be established to ease the demand for high school places for top performing students in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT),” Mrs. Neil stated.
She added that the move by the two Building Societies to fund the centres, could encourage other private bodies to fund similar ventures. “There is a market for education, and we welcome the signal that this project will be sending to other private bodies who may wish to demonstrate their corporate citizenship either by partnering with us or by offering alternatives to public schools,” she said.
In giving the Ministry’s support to the Centres of Excellence project, Mrs. Neil said both students and communities will benefit. “The project’s aim is to buttress the strategic objectives of the Ministry of Education, particularly as they relate to raising the performance bar for our students. The expected improvements at the school level, will also have a far-reaching impact on the communities within which the targeted schools are located, because of the design and collaborative approach which this initiative will employ,” she added.
The Acting Assistant Chief Education Officer, made note that the societies’ move has great potential for growth in the education sector, “I say this in the belief that the main rationale for Public-Private Partnership (PPP) programmes is the potential role of the private sector, for expanding equitable access and improving learning outcomes. I believe this partnership will go a far way in creating a model upon which we can build greater collaboration between the state and corporate Jamaica,” she noted.
Mrs. Neil said the business community depends heavily on a quality workforce for its survival. “If we are to speak of sustainable development we must become more appreciative of the linkages that exist or must be created for us to achieve the goals set out in the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s Vision 2030,” she said.