JIS News

The Ministry of Education is looking to put a School Improvement Act in place to support the Centre of Excellence project, which is aimed at achieving high standards in the secondary education system.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Andrew Holness, speaking in the 2009/10 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (July 21), said that all new schools will operate under the project.
“All new schools will be established under the School Improvement Act, for a period of five years or until the Ministry is satisfied that the school has the institutional capacity and leadership necessary to guarantee the delivery of quality education,” he stated.
He informed that already, the new high school in Belmont, Westmoreland, has been placed under the Centre of Excellence framework and “we are heartened at the excitement and interest that the community and parents have shown at the prospect that their school will be a Centre of Excellence.”
The objective of the Centre of Excellence scheme is to meet and exceed the standards set for secondary educational institutions by the establishment and maintenance of an ethos and institutional culture of excellence in all aspects of the school’s academic, administrative and operational programmes and activities, Mr. Holness explained.
Among the areas targeted are academics, vocation, arts, athletics, conduct, deportment, aesthetics, ethics, culture, civic awareness, community service, volunteerism, critical thinking, pedagogy, technology, curricula content and material, and leadership.
“These objectives will be supported by the School Improvement Act. Under the proposed legislation, school failure will be defined relative to the inspection report of the National Education Inspectorate, and the Ministry of Education will be given special powers to intervene expeditiously and deploy special measures to return quality education to the school,” Mr. Holness told the House.
The Centre of Excellence project was launched in February 2008, with $100 million in funding from the Mutual Building Societies Foundation.
A total of 15 non-traditional or newly upgraded high schools in rural parishes are targeted under the project, which will be implemented over a five-year period. During that time, the necessary support, infrastructure and equipment, will be provided to the schools, to achieve the required outcomes.
Minister Holness, speaking at the launch held at the Hilton Kingston, stated that the initiative would go a long way towards addressing inequality in educational opportunity.

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