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The Portland Chapter of the Quality Education Circle (QEC), involving some 49 educational institutions in the parish, was launched yesterday (June 10), at the Port Antonio High School.
This is the final launch of the QECs by the Ministry of Education’s Region Two office. Some 66 QECs islandwide have been defined by the Ministry of Education. Circle Chapters were launched recently in St. Mary and St. Thomas.
The QEC is an education community that is used as a strategy to improve the quality of education at all levels of the education system, from early childhood to tertiary. It came out of the 2004 Task Force Report on Education Reform.
Addressing teachers and parents at the launching ceremony, Education Officer, Region Two, Paul Ashley, said the launch of the QECs was “significant and timely,” since it supports the Ministry’s response to public demand for “quality education for our students fostered by high standards, competency, commitment and accountability.”
In his overview, he said that the initiative was designed to bring education closer to the community and to allow the stakeholders to become active participants in the education of the children.
“Our aim is to develop a learning community in which the Jamaican public will be constantly updated and reported to, regarding the progress of our students, thereby increasing confidence in the education system,” he said.
Mr. Ashley explained that partners will be called on to serve in various ways, including setting educational targets and measuring benchmarks along the way, analysing student and teacher performance data, and reporting on teacher performance and ensuring regular reporting, to properly manage the performance of the circles.
The Education Officer explained that the activities of the QECs will revolve around the Fair Prospect, Port Antonio and Buff Bay High Schools, which have been identified as Teacher Resource Centres (TRCs).
Mr. Ashley said the TRCs will become a repository of resource materials to enhance the teaching profession and the teaching and learning process.
Commenting on the issue of violence in some schools, Mr. Ashley said the partnership engendered by the QECs allowed for shared responsibilities in teaching students to respect their leaders and the values of respect, love and peace.
“Perhaps, with your help, we can partner to refocus our values with emphasis on law and order and the promotion of the notion of education as a social value, rather than new values of money and possession,” he said.