JIS News

Education Minister, Andrew Holness, has emphasised the need for the development of a culture of measurement and evidence-based evaluation, within the education sector.
This, he said, is key to underpinning the thrust towards a greater accountability on the part of teachers.
Speaking at the launch of the Jamaica School Administrative System (JSAS) 7.0 software, at the Drews Avenue Primary School in Kingston on November 6, Mr. Holness said teaching “is more than a profession,” describing it as a “calling,” where the welfare of every pupil “must matter.” To this end, he stressed that accountability is crucial.
“When we talk of accountability, immediately everyone is afraid. Everyone, who is a teacher, says ‘oh, we support you on the accountability call…but I am one teacher, who does a very good job.. I do my best.’ And, I am not disputing that we have teachers who give far more than they are required to give. But, we also have to acknowledge, that we have some teachers who are just doing what they feel is enough to get by,” the Minister argued.
Emphasising that he does not want to be the “policeman” of education, Mr. Holness said instead, he wants to inspire teachers to acknowledge their professional “calling,” and give of their best, “regardless of the circumstances.”
“I sympathise with you, because I know (that) you work under some extreme conditions. But, regardless of that, you have to give of your best. It is in giving of your best, that the economy will grow, by virtue of producing more productive and creative students… who can participate in the society,” the Minister said.
Mr. Holness argued that teachers are obliged to give of their best at all times, adding that education is not a “chicken and egg situation.”
“Teachers start by giving, they give first, and those of you who remain in the profession, must understand that, that is how you will have to continue,” he asserted.
The JSAS is a management software system, which tracks school attendance and individual students’ performances, providing fast and easy retrieval of information, as well as generating transcripts.
The project is a joint undertaking between the Governments of Jamaica and the United States, and is monitored by the Ministry of Education, through the Expanding Educational Horizons (EEH) initiative, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

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