Link between Education and Local Government must be Explored


Minister of Education, Andrew Holness has said that there is an inextricable link between education and local government, and that this form of governance will have to be explored, if there is to be political accountability within the education system.
“It is something that we don’t readily see in the Jamaican context. Our mindset is that there must be a separation of local governance of an area, a city, a region, and the governance of education itself.so if you were to look at the Jamaican education system, there is no local political accountability within the education system. Indeed, our idea of decentralizing education is that we strip the Ministry of the operating functions and place them in a regional office,” he outlined.
However, Mr. Holness pointed out, in other jurisdictions, the management of education is done by a local elected authority, so that there are two levels of accountability. “One coming from the local electorate that feeds through what we call our parish councils, that make sure that schools perform. Our accountability is indirect,” he said.
Mr. Holness was speaking this morning (March 17) at the opening ceremony of the international conference on adult education, hosted by the Jamaica Council for Adult Education in collaboration with the Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning and the HEART Trust/NTA. The three-day conference is being held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.
The Education Minister said that if standards and quality in the education system are going to be improved, local organizations that run the municipalities, have to be involved, as this is where the real accountability lies.
“It is something that the nation will have to, at some point in time, contemplate. As our society matures, those considerations as to our governance structures will have to be dealt with,” he told the gathering.
The conference, which is being held under the theme, ‘The Learning City: a Vehicle for Community Transformation’, will cover areas such as: family life in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean; crime and violence (effects and counter trends); information and communication technology; HIV in Jamaica (progress and challenges); poverty and socio-economic development; and learning for transformation, among other topics.

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