JIS News

OCHO RIOS — Education Minister, Hon. Andrew Holness has called on leaders in the school system to rise above petty issues that seek to retard progress, and to be transformational, rather than transactional.

“Do not be satisfied at the level at which you are, always try to change and improve. Don’t get trapped in the local issues trying to be transactional; rise above those petty issues that are holding down the education system,” Mr. Holness said.

The Minister was addressing Principals and members of school Boards in the Education Ministry’s Region Three, at a consultation meeting on June 23, at St. Hilda’s Diocesan High School, in Brown’s Town, St. Ann.

Mr. Holness explained that the meeting was held to give school leaders first-hand exposure to the policy, vision and direction of the Ministry of Education.

The Minister pointed out that society’s demands on the schools of today were far different from those of years ago, and that, “the school of today is not the school of 30 years ago."

“There is a serious social problem with parental failure and the only tool at the disposal of the Government for immediate use in the Jamaican society to deal with that problem is the school. We have developed the National Parenting Policy and that policy will be supported by the National Parenting Support Commission. We are waiting on legislation to set up that commission and the whole purpose of that commission and that policy is to educate parents in good parental practices,” he said, urging leaders in the schools to set up an outreach to deal with the issue of parental deficit.

Turning to the school and its management, Mr. Holness said that operating a school is not a trivial exercise. “Schools need managers, because a school has a business side to it; you have regulatory framework, you have to conform to the requirements of submitting your annual reports and you are subject to be audited. The school requires a manager who, first of all, understands the core business (education), but who also understands marketing, accounting, human resource management, plant management, safety and security, staff and student welfare,” he said.

The Minister stressed that the management of school funds is of paramount importance and called on the Board Chairmen to ensure that they focus on matters concerning school money and how it is spent.

Also participating in the forum were Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Audrey Sewell and Chief Education Officer, Grace McLean.