JIS News

By September 2011, the National College of Educational Leadership (NCEL) will be up and running, as part of efforts to build a cadre of effective leaders and improve the quality of principals.
“We think that by September 2011 we should be ready. We are going to use September 2010 to August 2011 for preparations, get the courses off the ground, negotiate with institutions on how we are going to share the certification and all of that,” Director of the Jamaica Teaching Council (JTC), Dr. Winsome Gordon, told a Think Tank session Wednesday (July 21) at the Jamaica Information Service (JIS).
Dr. Gordon further noted that the NCEL will form part of the JTC, and will respond to any need identified.
“It will focus on the practice of school leadership, which is different from what happens in a traditional educational institution. It will respond immediately to any needs that may be identified. It doesn’t have to go through a studies board or a senate. It will just act, and that is why we think it is absolutely necessary to have this leadership college,” she emphasised.
According to Dr. Gordon, the NCEL will also address the problem of selecting the best persons to serve as principals in schools.
“The leadership college will create a pool of qualified persons and from that the school boards can select their principals. We will interview the proposed candidates, train them and put the information on our website, to say that these people are qualified to lead our schools in case you have vacancies,” she explained.
She said that this was the best strategy to get excellent principals in the schools, while noting that the JTC has trained some 300 teachers since being established in 2008.
“Over the past two years we have trained about 300 new principals and on July 2 this year, we will be holding a workshop for an additional 30 new principals who will be going into schools in September 2010. The training that we provide to new principals is not optional, it’s imperative,” Dr. Gordon pointed out. Principals will receive a certificate of participation.
Persons interested in attending the NCEL should have worked in the education system for at least 3 years; have a degree in education or one of the relevant subject areas. The persons most likely to be chosen are those with a post graduate degree.
“NCEL is a college for the practice of leadership, and we would like people to have their initial leadership requirement before they come to NCEL,” Dr. Gordon informed.
Whilst the NCEL will be a supportive unit for teachers, if evidence surfaces of under performance, appropriate actions will be taken.
“We view and we observe and if we agree that the person is not performing, we will sit with that person to develop a personal development plan and the person is given a set period of time, not exceeding two years, in which to perform at desirable levels,” Dr. Gordon explained.
She added that if after that time the person is still not performing, then there will be an issue of separation.
The JTC’s mission is to cause the teaching profession to continuously strive for excellence, in raising aspirations and achievements that lead to beneficial educational outcomes for all learners.

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