JIS News

State Minister in the Ministry of Education and Youth, Senator Noel Monteith, has said that the Ministry has spent over US$3.3 million to ensure that schools have the kind of managers that could positively affect the transformation process in education. He pointed out that the training has been done through the Primary Education Support Project (PESP).
Senator Monteith was speaking at a graduation ceremony at the Half Moon Conference Centre in Montego Bay on May 22, where 273 primary school principals, vice-principals and senior teachers received post graduate diplomas in school management and leadership from the Canada-based Mount Saint Vincent University, bringing to more than 800, the number of school administrators trained under the programme.
The programme, which is a collaborative effort of the Ministry of Education and Youth and Mount Saint Vincent University, began in May 2003 and is funded under the PESP.
It aims to increase efficiency in the primary school system, through the strengthening of the educational management capabilities of school principals.The programme consists of five components namely, effective schools, organizational behaviour, evaluation and supervision, issues in Jamaican education, and a practicum in leadership and management.
Senator Monteith stressed that the Ministry of Education could not single-handedly transform itself without the participation of all its stakeholders.
“Transforming the education system will not work if we adopt a top-down approach. But school managers can only affect the process positively if they are effective managers who are equipped with both leadership and management skills, as well as the attitude and aptitude to apply those skills in the teaching and learning environment, thus optimizing potential,” he said.
Senator Monteith told the graduates that much was expected of them and that the Government was expecting them to demonstrate their capacities to function effectively in certain prescribed roles. “We expect that you will help to develop a learning system that delivers a globally competitive workforce and a disciplined, culturally aware and ethical Jamaican citizenry,” he stressed.
He further challenged the principals to lead the charge for reform in their schools, to wave the banners of change and bear chief responsibility for victory or failure.
Pointing out that principals were central to the shaping of a positive and professional school culture and climate, Senator Monteith urged them to build and maintain positive relationships with parents, their communities and other stakeholders.
“Your role as principal may become more daunting and more complex, hence I charge you to learn how to combine different leadership characteristics, depending on the phase of the change process or on circumstances over time, remembering that the school principal is the key change agent in ensuring that changes are introduced and sustained,” the State Minister pointed out.
All school principals, vice principals and senior teachers are eligible to apply for the Principals Diploma in School Management Programme, which has been institutionalized locally and will be accessible at St. Joseph’s Teachers’ College come September 2006. Other colleges will be offering the programme soon.