Principals of educational institutions across the island are benefiting from training under the Inclusive School Leadership Training Programme (ISLTP).
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is undertaking the training through its Special Education Unit, with support from the National College for Educational Leadership (NCEL) and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), which is providing funding through its Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF).
The programme, which is in its pilot phase, started in January and is scheduled to conclude December 31. Several school leaders across the education regions have already participated in the programme, which is aligned to the Ministry’s priority policies.
Addressing a JIS Think Tank on Thursday (December 3), Assistant Chief Education Officer in the Special Education Unit, Dr. Sharon Anderson Morgan, said that ISLTP is designed to equip school leaders with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to lead an inclusive institution.
This is in keeping with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Section 24 of which speaks specifically to the responsibilities of member states in ensuring inclusive education.
This means that schools must make all the accommodation and modifications necessary for students with special needs that will allow them to achieve their full potential.
Principal/Director of NCEL, Dr. Taneisha Ingleton, said that the institution is pleased to be associated with the training programme for school leaders, which will benefit special needs students.
“We know that inclusive leadership in special education is not something that a principal would learn in school. We recognised that we needed to design, develop and implement a training programme that would allow our school leaders to have the requisite skills and competences needed to build inclusive schools,” she pointed out.
Project Manager for the BNTF, Daintyann Barrett Smith, for her part, noted that the Fund is the Caribbean Development Bank’s flagship poverty reduction programme in the region.
It provides grant funding for projects in education, water, sanitation and rehabilitation of community access roads.
Mrs. Barrett Smith said that JSIF is committed to supporting the education sector, including addressing the needs of children with disabilities.
Jamaica and other countries around the world are observing International Day for Persons with Disabilities on December 3 under the theme ‘Building Back Better: Towards a Disability-inclusive, Accessible and Sustainable Post COVID-19 World’.