JIS News

Executive Director of the Education Transformation Team, Dr. Frank Weeple, has hailed the formation of the National School Board Association (NSBA), as a significant development in the transformation of the country’s education system.
“School boards are key in taking the transformation (process) forward,” he stated, as he addressed a recent retreat of the island’s school board chairmen at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios. The official launch ceremony will be held at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, on May 29, starting at 10:00 a.m.
Dr. Weeple further lauded the work of the island’s school board members, noting that that they are “the unsung and unpaid heroes of education”.
“There are 12, 000 school board members in Jamaica and 1,000 board chairmen. You are major stakeholders and so we must hear your voice loud and clear on transformation and be able to communicate with you about progress,” he stated.
According to Dr. Weeple, the purpose of a school board is to ensure that students attain the best education possible, and to achieve this goal, the boards must have a strategic view of their main functions, and focus on areas where they can add most value.
“That is to help to raise standards, to establish high expectations and to promote effective teaching and learning, and to have clear arrangements for monitoring progress against targets,” he pointed out.
The formation of the NSBA is being spearheaded by the Education Transformation Team in collaboration with the National Council on Education, and is based on recommendations coming out of the 2004 Task Force Report on Education Reform. The report, among other things, recommended deeper involvement of critical stakeholders in the transformation of the education sector.
The body will work to strengthen school boards to improve the governance and management structures, with the aim of equipping them to assume greater responsibilities at the local level.
At the two-day retreat in Ocho Rios, the executive members of the NSBA were chosen from among the regional executives, which were selected at a series of islandwide consultations with school board chairmen.
The membership comprises president Rev. Jeffrey McKenzie, who is chairman of Marl Road Basic, Inswood High and Old Harbour Primary in St. Catherine; while the two vice presidents are chairman of Sanguinetti Primary in Clarendon, Hugh Cross; and chairman of Godfrey Stewart High in Westmoreland, Norman Reid.
Chairman of Mount Osbourne All-age School in St. Elizabeth, Winston Mullings, will serve as secretary to the organization, while the assistant secretary is chairman of Bath Primary and Junior High School in St. Thomas, Marlene Bignal-Josephs.
The treasurer of the new organization is chairman of the Moore Town Primary and Junior High School in Portland, Dr. Emmanuel Obasare; while public relations officer is Bryan Miller, chairman of the Knockalva Technical High School in Hanover. There will also be three co-opted members to the body.

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