JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Seven principals and a guidance counselor from schools in Jamaica are to go on a one-week visit to the United Kingdom (UK) as part of a twinning of schools programme, where they will meet with their UK counterparts to increase cultural and academic exchange between both groups.
  • The local educators are from schools in Region Three of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture. They include Richard James, Ocho Rios Primary; Morris Smith, St. Ann's Bay Primary; Jean Watson, Bamboo Primary; Howard Issacs, Moneague Primary and Junior High; Merle Kelly, Village All-age; Winfield Murray, Brown's Town High, Veronica Archer, Ferncourt High and Verlaine Henry, Iona High.
  • The team is expected to leave the island on Friday, March 14, to visit schools in the counties of Gloucestershire/Bristol.

Seven principals and a guidance counselor from schools in Jamaica are to go on a one-week visit to the United Kingdom (UK) as part of a twinning of schools programme, where they will meet with their UK counterparts to increase cultural and academic exchange between both groups.

The local educators are from schools in Region Three of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture. They include Richard James, Ocho Rios Primary; Morris Smith, St. Ann’s Bay Primary; Jean Watson, Bamboo Primary; Howard Issacs, Moneague Primary and Junior High; Merle Kelly, Village All-age; Winfield Murray, Brown’s Town High, Veronica Archer, Ferncourt High and Verlaine Henry, Iona High.

The team is expected to leave the island on Friday, March 14, to visit schools in the counties of Gloucestershire/Bristol.

Coordinator of the programme, Horace Richards, former principal of the Ocho Rios High School, told JIS News that the purpose of the visit “is to increase the cultural and academic understanding between the teachers and students of both countries”.

Pointing out that a number of students from Jamaican parentage were attending schools in the UK, Mr. Richards said the twinning would encourage and enhance communication among the institutions.

Merle Kelly, Principal of Village All-age who will be participating, said “since the whole idea of the visit is to observe aspects of the education system in schools in that country, we can learn from the teaching strategies and culture experiences, which will help to enhance our teaching programmes back here in Jamaica”.

She said the wealth of experience would better equip the group to help Jamaican students achieve academic success, develop their creativity, and fit them into the world of work.

Principal of Ocho Rios Primary, Richard James, said the visit, which would provide first hand experience, and look at cross-culture, “will widen our horizon, giving a base for our schools to participate in the programme, geographically and socially, through essays and letters, among other communication devices”.

Commenting on the genesis of the twinning programme, Mr. Richards noted that it started in the 1990s with the good deed of a group of Jamaicans living in Gloucestershire/Bristol, who donated funds for victims of Hurricane Gilbert in 1988.

He said the idea was subsequently extended to the education sector, and in the late 1990’s, educators in both counties were twinned with five principals in St. Ann.

In 2000, a high level team from Gloucestershire/Bristol visited Jamaica and a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between the Ministry of Education and the counties.

To date, some 23 schools in Jamaica are participating in the programme.

Two weeks ago, nine principals, vice-principals and classroom teachers from Gloucestershire visited a number of schools in Jamaica, and another group is expected in February 2004.

The project is funded by the Department for International Development in the UK.