Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, has said that effective leadership is key to transforming institutions that are failing.
“Institutions that are at risk of failure or are failing can change. They can have a re-birth if good leadership is put in place,” he stated on Tuesday (November 23) during his address at the official opening of the Karl Hendrickson Auditorium at Jamaica College (JC) on Old Hope Road in Kingston.
According to the Education Minister, effective leadership will generate new resources, but more importantly, utilise existing assets more efficiently, by achieving more out of the same resource pool.
He praised the management of JC, noting that while the institution has not escaped some of the problems of overcrowding, delinquent and mal-adjusted students, it presents a case study for transforming institutions that falling behind.
Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness (2nd left) looks on as Dr. Karl Hendrickson cuts the ribbon to officially open the Karl Hendrickson auditorium at Jamaica College. Others (from left) are: Chairman, Board of Governors of Jamaica College and the Jamaica College Foundation R. Danny Williams; and JC’s Principal, Ruel Reid.
“Some persons, in looking at the model that JC presents for transforming institutions, would say the transformation was inevitable given the resources that have been put in this school, but they would have missed a fundamental point.it is not resources that transforms institutions; it is leadership that transforms institutions, and once there is good leadership, resources will follow,” he argued.
Minister Holness pointed out that the work at JC is ongoing and expressed confidence that the reform of the systems, culture, and infrastructure will be sustained. “With the great work of the management and leadership of this school, I’m certain that JC is guaranteed another century of great existence,” he said.
The Minister praised the “great philanthropy of Dr. Karl Hendrickson and the team” in building the auditorium. “I see it not only as a gift to Jamaica College but it is a gift to the education system as a whole,” he stated.
The auditorium was named in honour of the businessman and former president of the JC Old Boys Association, who gave $50 million towards the construction of the building. He also offered to provide all the chairs needed for the auditorium.
Chairman, Board of Governors of Jamaica College and Jamaica College Foundation R. Danny Williams, said the building was part of a five-year plan for the overhaul of the school system, which by the end of the year, would have cost over $250 million in cash and kind.
Over the five years, a new administration has been appointed with new administrative systems put in; the use of information technology has been extended including the establishment of seven new computer laboratories; while the physical plant has been refurbished, including the science laboratories, staff cottages and studios.
Principal of JC, Ruel Reid, said the school “proudly celebrates this building as our signal that Jamaica College has been transformed and restored back to a school of excellence.”
Dr. Hendrickson, while reflecting on his days at JC, said he and his family were pleased to have been afforded the privilege of contributing to “this great institution of learning.”
The multi-purpose auditorium, which was built at a cost of $100 million, also has facility for indoor sporting activities such as badminton and table tennis. The old auditorium will be transformed into a dining area.