JIS News

To enhance the quality of service delivery, the Ministry of Education has commenced a customer service training programme for its staff islandwide.
The programme, to be undertaken through the Ministry’s Professional Development Unit, was launched at the Overseas Examinations Commission, Cross Roads, Kingston, today (Sept. 10).
The initiative, which commenced today with a workshop for a number of the stakeholders, is set to roll out fully within the next two weeks, and will initially target the approximately 1,200 officers at the Ministry’s central and regional offices. Thereafter, it will be expanded to incorporate other Ministry staff, including teachers.
Explaining the rationale for the programme, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Audrey Sewell, who represented portfolio Minister, Hon. Andrew Holness, highlighted concerns which have resonated within the Ministry regarding the quality of the service extended to clients, both internally and externally.
“We have a very large client base, and from time to time we have got feedback from them about the quality of service that we are providing. We took a decision that we needed to look at our processes to ensure that we are providing quality service to our clients. We believe that, as employees in the public service, we have a responsibility to discharge our functions, and our duties, in a manner that would satisfy our clients. We think we are so morally obliged,” the Permanent Secretary said.
“So, we decided to go on a major initiative to ensure that persons are sensitised and re-orientated to understand that they have a responsibility to provide quality service to the public at large,” she added.
Recognition of this, the Permanent Secretary pointed out, resonated as early as March of this year, at which time a pilot customer service training workshop was organised for select personnel in the Ministry’s Regions V and VI.
“Based on feedback, we did modifications to the programme and decided that we were going to, now, launch this major initiative in the Ministry. And, we want to ensure that every employee in the Ministry benefits, because it’s all a part of the accountability framework we are pushing throughout the entire system,” she said.
Mrs. Sewell said today’s workshop saw some 38 representatives from the Central Office, Professional Development Unit, Early Childhood Division, and the six regions participating in customer service training activities, led by main facilitator, Chairman of the Ministry’s Master Teacher Programme, and Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Education, University of the West Indies (UWI), Dr. Moses Peart. Areas covered, which are expected to be imparted during the roll out, included: Systematising the Service Policy and Culture; and Developing the Customer Service Facilitation and Monitoring Plan.
The participants, along with others to be trained will, in turn, assist Dr. Peart in rolling out the programme at the local level, which should entail two and three-day workshops, among other activities, across the island upwards of the next month.
The Permanent Secretary also noted that the training component would be complemented by incentive provisions, to “ensure that people get recognised for their efforts.”
“We will be having recognition of employees of the quarter, employees of the year, and we will be giving them incentives,” she added.
Mrs. Sewell said the ultimate expectation of the initiative is that it will serve to catalyse changes in the Ministry’s image, resulting in a positive perception by its clients.
“We want to be seen as a caring Ministry, one that is really discharging its responsibilities to the people of Jamaica. We believe that if each of us is committed to doing what we have to do, what we are being paid to do, then we will see improvements in the outputs from our education system,” the Permanent Secretary said.

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