JIS News

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Ministry of Education and the Mutual Building Societies Foundation, for a Centre of Excellence Project, aimed at improving the management systems and teaching methodologies in six non-traditional high schools.
The six participating high schools are Mile Gully, Porus, McGrath, Seaforth, Green Pond, and Godfrey Stewart.
The signing took place today (April 28), at the Ministry of Education, at National Heroes Circle, in Kingston.
In his address, Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness expressed his appreciation to the Foundation for the work it is doing in the six non traditional rural high schools.
“I want to say how grateful I am that the Mutual Building Societies Foundation has seen it fit to invest in education in this significant way. On behalf of the principals and teachers of the schools that will benefit and indeed the entire education system, please accept my heartfelt thanks,” Mr. Holness said.
He also noted that there is a need to improve the standard of the country’s high school, such that the performance difference is negligible or non-existent.
“I want to say that school improvement is not an easy task. Moving from dream to vision to implementing the plan is a very complex issue. Once you start to talk about improvements in education you are looking at 20 years or 30 years and that is something that the private sector will have to adjust their perspective to because results that private sector Boards require, may not always come speedily,” Mr. Holness said.
In his remarks, Chairman of Mutual Building Societies Foundation, Mr. Earl Jarrett argued that to transform the students’ outcome in the education sector, there is a need to review the country’s educational model and come up with improved strategies to impart information.
“We also need to change the way education is delivered to our students, and use this as a catalyst to transform the education sector. It was felt that we should undertake the challenge to improve the education of students in non traditional rural schools, particularly in the areas of Mathematics, English and Science,” the Chairman said.
He also added that the Centre of Excellence project complements the Ministry’s own programme to reposition the education sector and to develop a generation of competent, highly literate and skilled young people, who can compete globally at any level.
“Our belief that private sector organisations can lead the way in beginning important conversations and influence actions that will result in effecting change is verified today by the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding,” Mr. Jarrett said.
“We know that this project has exciting possibilities that can transform our country and people. This MoU signals that there is consensus on the way forward on the part of the government, private sector, educators and students. This is an agreement on the expected outcomes for the students and by extension the schools and the communities in which they operate,” he added.
Principal of McGrath High School, Dr. Cynthia Anderson, expressed her appreciation to the Foundation for its involvement in the six participating schools.
“We are pleased to be signing this MoU between the schools and the Mutual Building Societies Foundation. We have seen marked improvements in a number of areas. Of particular importance were the series of seminars held with the principals and teaching staff and the guidance counsellors. The emphasis on differentiating learning styles has heightened teachers’ awareness of the differences in the capabilities and the pace of learning of each student,” Dr. Anderson said.
The Mutual Building Societies Foundation is a joint venture of the Jamaica National Building Society and the Victoria Mutual Building Society. The two building societies have taken an unprecedented lead in private sector partnerships to provide much needed technical assistance and financial resources to improve student achievement, teacher quality and the organisational efficiency of six upgraded high schools in rural Jamaica.

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