JIS News

Story Highlights

  • NCE is reporting an improvement in the speed and efficiency with which school boards are being appointed
  • New processes and procedures for board appointments
  • Board members across all regions are being trained

The National Council on Education (NCE) is reporting an improvement in the speed and efficiency with which school boards are currently being appointed.

The disclosure was made by Executive Director, Merris Murray, while addressing a general council meeting of the NCE, the highest advisory body to Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, at the Caribbean Examination (CXC) office, Picadilly Road, Kingston, on Tuesday, August 20.

Ms. Murray reported that, as at July 13, boards have been appointed for the 164 public schools in Region I, comprising  Kingston and St. Andrew; 171 in Region II (Portland, St. Mary, and St. Thomas); and 123 in Region III (St. Ann and Trelawny).

Appointments have been made for 167 of 169 public schools in Region IV (St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland), while only one of the 161 schools in Region V (St. Elizabeth and Manchester) is yet to have a board in place. Similar appointments have been made for all 231 schools in Region VI (Clarendon and St. Catherine).

Ms. Murray’s report follows Rev. Thwaites’ announcement of new processes and procedures for board appointments.

“These improved efficiencies will result in better governance and accountability of public educational institutions in Jamaica,” she contended.

The Executive Director said approximately 2000 copies of a handbook, developed by the NCE for school boards, titled: ‘All Hands on Board’, have been distributed to the six educational regions. The hand books were printed with the assistance of the United Nations’ Children Fund (UNICEF).

Additionally, Ms. Murray said board members across all regions are being trained, in an effort to improve the governance of public educational institutions. She reported that 13 training workshops were held in Regions I, II and VI during the last fiscal year at a cost of approximately $7 million, while similar workshops, coordinated for Regions IV and V, have commenced with $5 million being earmarked to fund these.

The workshops, which are financed through the Education System Transformation Programme (ESTP), utilize the modular training programme developed for school boards.

According  to Ms. Murray, the Council has also developed a ‘train the trainers’ programme with a view to decentralizing the training of board members in an effort to reduce cost.  She noted that approximately 50 trainers have benefitted, to date.

The NCE is a statutory body which falls under the purview of the Ministry of Education.  It was established in 1993, to co-ordinate the process of supporting, among other things, the effective appointment and training of members of school boards.