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Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Education, through its Operation Turnaround Programme, has partnered with the Joan Duncan Foundation to offer training to team members in 150 public schools, under a project known as ‘Conversations for Greatness’.
  • Training is geared at inspiring a change in the mindset of schoolteachers, administrators and support staff towards becoming transformational educators, in an effort to achieve an 85 per cent literacy and numeracy target in each school.
  • The Ministry will be providing the technical support through Operation Turnaround, in terms of working with the schools to create plans for improving Mathematics and English teaching and learning, while the Joan Duncan Foundation is designing the method of the discussions and training the facilitators who will work with the team members.

The Ministry of Education, through its Operation Turnaround Programme, has partnered with the Joan Duncan Foundation to offer training to team members in 150 public schools, under a project known as ‘Conversations for Greatness’.

Training is geared at inspiring a change in the mindset of schoolteachers, administrators and support staff towards becoming transformational educators, in an effort to achieve an 85 per cent literacy and numeracy target in each school.

The Ministry will be providing the technical support through Operation Turnaround, in terms of working with the schools to create plans for improving Mathematics and English teaching and learning, while the Joan Duncan Foundation is designing the method of the discussions and training the facilitators who will work with the team members.

Some 175 volunteers will be engaged in the initiative, which has a projected overall cost of $100 million.

The ‘Conversations for Greatness’ project began in May with two pilot schools  – the Holy Family Primary and the Donald Quarrie High Schools.

At the official launching ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on October  13, Deputy Chief Education Officer, Dorrett Campbell, said despite the gains in literacy, numeracy and external examinations, 55 per cent of schools are still performing less than satisfactorily as it relates to organisational effectiveness.

She said this reality underscores the need for Operation Turnaround, which is a strategy aimed at building the capacity of principals and middle managers to provide effective instructional leadership to improve student performance.

All the schools which the Operation Turnaround programme has been impacting are those to be facilitated in the Conversations for Greatness sessions.

“(We are) pleased to have the JMMB team on board as a partner. They are bringing to the table another side, another dimension of leadership that is not the practical side, but more the inspirational side and we welcome that,” she said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites,  commended the Joan Duncan Foundation for recognising the value of having a “robust participation” in education.

“The private sector organisation is now taking an increased interest in education, not just to draw the cheques, but indeed to help us determine policy that has to guide education,” he said.

Rev. Thwaites further acknowledged the value of displaying love within the schools and of promoting visionary leadership, which are tenets of the Conversations for Greatness project.

For her part, Chairman of the Joan Duncan Foundation,  Patricia Sutherland, used the opportunity to appeal to members of the private sector for support and funding for the project.

The Joan Duncan Foundation, established in honour of  co-founder of Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB), was founded on the principles of love, empowerment, transformation and greatness. It has a mission to develop, support and steward transformational initiatives in education and entrepreneurship.

Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites (right) and Chairman of the Joan Duncan Foundation,  Patricia Sutherland, share in the launch ceremony of Conversations for Greatness held at the Pegasus Hotel on Tuesday, October 13. The project is to be facilitated in 150 public schools as a collaboration of the Ministry with the Joan Duncan Foundation, an organisation under the JMMB Group.

Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites (right) and Chairman of the Joan Duncan Foundation,  Patricia Sutherland, share in the launch ceremony of Conversations for Greatness held at the Pegasus Hotel on Tuesday, October 13. The project is to be facilitated in 150 public schools as a collaboration of the Ministry with the Joan Duncan Foundation, an organisation under the JMMB Group.