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Williams-Singh wants party politics out of schools

Published:Tuesday | February 16, 2016 | 2:00 AMJason Cross
Trisha Williams-Singh shows off her framed letter which won The Gleaner's Silver Pen Award for October.

Trisha Williams-Singh, board chairman of the New Forest Infant Primary and Junior High School in South Manchester, has won the October 2015 Gleaner Silver Pen Award for penning a letter decrying the influence party politics has on the governance of schools across the island.

The letter, headlined 'Don't Mix Politics and Education', was published on October 1, 2015.

In the letter, Williams-Singh argued that most policies implemented are politically motivated.

"I'm not saying that as a member of parliament, you don't have a say, but it can't be that you are putting someone there and their only objective is to speak party politics or to bring back information to you for you to come there and meet parents and try and get a vote," Williams-Singh told The Gleaner after collecting her award at the newspaper's offices in Kingston last Thursday.

She said that she felt that the Government does not do enough to change the current situation of failure in schools across the island because it is more concerned about politics and cementing itself in constituency seats rather than focusing on putting things in place to properly educate students.

FAILURE

For academic failure, she said, the blame should not be placed solely on students and parents, but also on leaders of the various school administrations and, in particular, school boards.

"'Every child can learn and every child must learn'. It's well said, but we've been running that for over six, seven years and yet we still see a lot of failure, and that's because some of the simple policies that we have produce a revolving door of failure," Williams-Singh said.

"Look at why they are failing. It can't be the students - and stop telling me about the poor parenting. Yes, parenting has an impact, but when a child comes into an institution, how come the same child from an area we deem garrison does well when they go to Campion but that child does not do well when they go to Denham Town? Can you look at what the difference is between Denham Town High and Campion? It's the leadership. It boils down to management, and I don't blame the principal. I actually blame the board," she said.

Williams-Singh said that she believed school boards should not be chaired by political appointees but persons who have been successful in specific fields of endeavour like business.

- J.C.