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  • Government Senator, Wensworth Skeffery, is calling for a restructuring of school boards, to include the appointment of persons with appropriate skills to ensure the efficient and effective management of schools.
  • He noted, for instance, that in a public secondary school, whose board of management is normally composed of 15 members, there are no specific guidelines with respect to the skill set of persons to be appointed.
  • Senator Skeffery further said that the Chairman must also be required to satisfy a clear set of criteria in order to be appointed.

Government Senator, Wensworth Skeffery, is calling for a restructuring of school boards, to include the appointment of persons with appropriate skills to ensure the efficient and effective management of schools.

“The present composition of school boards is outdated and cannot effectively achieve the quality governance that is needed,” he said, while opening the State of the Nation Debate in the Upper House on Friday, July 3.

He noted, for instance, that in a public secondary school, whose board of management is normally composed of 15 members, there are no specific guidelines with respect to the skill set of persons to be appointed.

“This is a weakness, as a board can be duly constituted but lacks the quality persons to effectively advance the quality governance needed,” he said.

He stressed that only persons with the essential skills needed for the smooth running of educational institutions should be appointed to school boards, and that the Code of Regulations be amended to reflect this provision.

Senator Skeffery further said that the Chairman must also be required to satisfy a clear set of criteria in order to be appointed.

“That individual must have specific knowledge in educational management and leadership as well as intimate knowledge as to the role of an instructional leader…and must have sound knowledge of the various acts that govern the education sector,” he said.

The Senator also suggested that the Code of Regulations be amended to ensure that an individual with financial training be appointed on the board. He argued that schools are given millions of dollars to manage, so they must have financial guidance, therefore persons with such skill, must be on the board.

Additionally, he said, appointment of an attorney of law should be mandatory, in order to ensure that the board has proper legal advice.

Turning to the primary level, where he said “the challenge is even greater,” due to the smaller composition of the board, with a maximum of eight persons, Senator Skeffery said “radical and urgent restructuring is needed at this level”.

“We need to increase the composition and have persons appointed with specific skills similar to those (suggested at the secondary level). Also, for the smaller schools in close proximity, we need to zone them and have a board of management on a cluster basis. These schools are already assigned to clusters hence it would be in line with that current structure within the Ministry of Education,” he said.

This arrangement, the Senator said, will increase efficiency, allow for the sharing of best practices and build the collaborative spirit within communities, which will ultimately increase the quality output of the education system and governance framework.

“Without good governance within our schools, it will be very difficult to achieve the quality output in keeping with the reform agenda we all desire within our education system,” he contended.