JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Jamaica National (JN) Foundation and the Ministry of Education have partnered on a three-year project, aimed at improving the leadership of 15 primary and secondary schools in three parishes.
  • The iLead project will be implemented in institutions in Portland, St. Mary, and St. James, which have been identified as in need of assistance.
  • It seeks to strengthen instructional and organisational leadership in the schools, by building the capacity of principals, heads of departments, and education officers.

The Jamaica National (JN) Foundation and the Ministry of Education have partnered on a three-year project, aimed at improving the leadership of 15 primary and secondary schools in three parishes.

The iLead project, which was launched on Tuesday, September 16, at the Terra Nova Hotel in St. Andrew, will be implemented in institutions in Portland, St. Mary, and St. James, which have been identified as in need of assistance.

It seeks to strengthen instructional and organisational leadership in the schools, by building the capacity of principals, heads of departments, and education officers. The expected outcome is marked improvement in academic performance, and leadership of the schools.

Speaking at the launch, Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites said initiatives such as iLead have the potential to drive the transformation, which is needed in the education sector.

He said that while “the old norms and traditions” in education have “put us in a good place,” there is need for improvement in order for the country to realise the national objectives set out in Vision 2030.
Director of Education Programmes at the JN Foundation and head of iLead,

Dr. Renee Rattray, said it is anticipated that the public-private partnership “will turn around the lives of our children”.

“There is a cry for stronger and better leadership in almost every area of our nation…our schools, which are the cradles of educational development, also suffer from this leadership deficit,” she noted.
She pointed out that the programme recognizes the need for a “one Jamaica” approach to education, and so it will involve critical stakeholders including communities, parents, teachers, ancillary staff, administrators, the government and the opposition.

“Through the iLead programme, we will bring all of these stakeholders together over the next three years to transform the academic and social outcomes of children in the 15 schools,” she stressed.

Chairman of the iLead advisory board, and leader of the Opposition, Andrew Holness, pointed out that while the programme will affect all aspects of education in the targeted schools, the focus will be on institutional leadership in education.

“What we want is that after the programme comes to an end, that the changes are institutionalized, and that other institutions can benefit from them. We want to leave behind leaders, who are now catalysts and agents of change in the education system,” he said.

Mr. Holness lauded JN for having taken the risk of implementing new and innovative methods in the education system. “But it is a risk that will be very positive for Jamaica, because many of the innovative techniques and strategies that which will be employed are tried and tested and proven around the world,” he said.

iLead is a follow-up to the Centres of Excellence programme implemented in 2008 by the JNBS in collaboration with the Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS), and which targeted six rural non-traditional high schools. The programme was completed in 2013 after five years in the schools.