Letter of the Day | School leadership a game-changer
THE EDITOR, Sir:
School leadership continues to be an issue of great concern for all stakeholders in the Jamaican education system. Without an educated workforce, the society will not have sustainable development and will continue to have anaemic economic growth.
The National Education Inspectorate (NEI) report highlights that in 41 per cent of high schools in Jamaica, leadership is unsatisfactory, and in 47 per cent of cases, leadership is just achieving the minimum set targets. Disturbingly, one per cent of high schools have exceptional leadership. It is clear that the society has a culture of weak school leadership. It is also obvious that there needs to be a public-private partnership to reverse this issue of ineffective school leadership.
Jamaica National (JN) Building Society, through its JN Foundation, recently organised a School Leadership Summit, which was held on July 25 and 26. Jamaica National is not new regarding its involvement in education. Jamaica National has been an important partner in the creation of the Centres of Excellence Programme, which has transformed many underperforming schools into schools of first choice. The Education Revolution, as the summit was branded, was as groundbreaking as it was intellectually stimulating as it brought together scores of school administrators, board members, officials from the education ministry, bloggers, and local and international experts to arrive at workable solutions affecting school leadership. A revolution is usually a process and begins in the mind.
A revolution also has a historical point of reference and the JN education revolution is no exception. In February 2004, the then government established a Task Force on Educational Reform. The task force was mandated to create an action plan to arrive at strategies for a world-class education system which would generate the human capital and produce the necessary skills set for Jamaicans to compete in the global economy.
A critical element of school leadership that requires more attention is the composition of our school boards. We need to re-examine how we go about appointing members to school boards.
We need to continue and expand the conversation regarding the education revolution in Jamaica. In the words of Donald H. McGannon, leadership is action, not position.