Education Minister, Hon. Andrew Holness, has emphasised that while the society clamour for instant results in the enhancement of the education system, adequate time must be taken for consultation and policy implementation.
This is to ensure consensus and the sustainability of the policies and systems that are being put in place the Minister said.
“Education requires political partnership, and a long term vision the decisions we took regarding competence-based transition -those students who started on that in 2009, won’t be sitting exams until somewhere in 2016, 2018 so it’s a long time the solution is really to keep the stakeholders engaged and to build the national understanding that the investment in education is not one that is going to yield an immediate result, and that we have to remain focused and committed to the process,” Mr. Holness expounded.
Chairman of the National Council on Education (NCE), Ruel Reid (second right) pictured with, (from left), Chairman of the Council’s Finance and Administration Committee, Robert Gregory, President of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA), Nadine Malloy and Chairman of Policy and Planning, Dr. Rae Davis, at an appreciation luncheon held by the NCE at the Terra Nova Hotel, Kingston on Wednesday (December 8).
He was addressing an appreciation luncheon held by the National Council on Education (NCE) at the Terra Nova Hotel, Kingston, Wednesday (December 8).
Mr. Holness said stakeholders can be commended for having maintained a good partnership, with many of the recommendations of the Task Force on Education, now being implemented.
He noted for example, the recommendation for the establishment of a National Education Inspectorate. To date, 40 schools have been inspected, with inspection being carried out on another 40. The summary report for the first 40 schools was tabled in Parliament Wednesday (December 7).
“We do try to reduce the administrative time (for implementing policy and recommendations), but education is everybody’s business and I literally have to give everybody a say so the time it takes for consultation must not be underestimated, because if I were to move ahead with a policy that was not consulted on, I guarantee there would be an uproar,” he stated.
However, the Education Minister pointed out that while wide consultation had to be carried out, the length of time taken on this, had to be weighed, to avoid lengthy delays.
“Whilst we have to take into consideration everybody’s’ views, if we were to just wait on consultation, then we wouldn’t do anything, so it is a tricky position for the policy-maker to decide when consultation is sufficient I have tried to use the NCE as the basis on which we can get bipartisan, multisectoral, independent oversight on critical policy decisions,” he explained.
“We have to bear in mind when we talk about education, the long term needs when we are critical of education, I accept that, but we must not be destructive in criticism of education system,” Mr. Holness added.
Other presentations at the function were made by Chairman of the NCE, Ruel Reid; Chairman of the Finance and Administration Committee of the NCE, Robert Gregory; Chairman of the Governance and Public Relations Committee, Byron Farquharson; and Chairman of Policy and Planning, Dr. Rae Davis.
The Council was established by an Act of Parliament in 1993 as a statutory body to advise the Minister on policy relating to education; nominate suitable persons for appointments to boards of management in public education institutions; assist in the preparation of plans and programmes for developing and maintaining an effective education system; monitor and evaluate the implementation of these programmes and make appropriate recommendations to the Minister; and carry out research in connection with its functions and public and disseminate these findings.