Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, has invited the Independent Schools' Association (JISA) to have discussions towards devising “a saving mechanism” for privately-operated institutions that are on the verge of closing.
“Jamaica can’t afford to lose one school place; we need more, not less, and if a private institution closes all that does is to put a further pressure on the public system,” the Minister said.
He was addressing the opening of the three-day JISA Principals’ Conference on Wednesday (April 25) at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort and Spa in Ocho Rios, St. Ann.
“The Ministry of Education remains open, and invites the Independent Schools’ Association, to enter into discussion and negotiation with us now, as to what means we can (provide) to these institutions to ensure that they stay open and that they maintain that stability that the system needs so much,” he added.
Stressing that JISA is a very important partner in education delivery, Minister Thwaites said he wants regular dialogue with the group, and not just when there are crises, or at conference time.
“The independent schools are a necessary part of a new set of partnerships in this country, in the provision of educational opportunities. The government is anxious for your association to strengthen itself, and wishes to engage with you in an ongoing discussion where we share your concerns (while) understanding our abilities and limitations. There is no room for distance in education,” the Minister stated.
Several professionals in business and education are slated to address the conference on topics such as accountability, motivation, ensuring excellence, and effective governance in schools.
By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter