Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
OCHO RIOS, St Ann:
EDUCATION MINISTER Ronald Thwaites has said the Government is establishing a national education training college to train administrators in the education sector.
More than 30 principals and other personnel from the education sector will begin this programme later this month as the Ministry of Education begins to "train the trainers" in order to improve the sector, Thwaites said.
"The overall objective is to improve school leadership," the minister pointed out.
Thwaites also revealed that he held talks with representatives of financial institutions last Thursday morning, regarding financial support for tertiary students, leaving him hopeful.
According to the minister, the financial institutions see the necessity of their involvement and he, therefore, expects a continuing succession of meetings that will bring about solutions.
"We can't allow students of any generation to fall by the wayside because they are poor," Thwaites argued.
He was addressing the opening session of the 20th annual conference of the Association of Principals and Vice-Principals' conference at the Gran Bahia Principe hotel in Runaway Bay, St Ann, last Thursday.
In a wide-ranging address, Thwaites also called upon the principals to find innovative ways to improve the education system, in light of the current financial constraints facing the country.
He questioned the objectives of the education system, pointing out that one of its inefficiencies was that the outcome was not necessarily related to the types of jobs available in the 21st century.
"Our education system has to articulate itself towards national needs," he suggested.
Speaking with The Gleaner after the minister's address, association president, Albert Corcho, said the minister was honest in his assessment and approach to the problems affecting the industry.
He said he was pleased with the establishment of the training college, describing the initiative as a win-win situation.
"We encourage our members that once they get accepted, that they do go to the college and make sure that they benefit. It's a win-win situation, the principals and vice-principals will benefit, they come back to our institutions a better person and our students will benefit from that."
Corcho, who is also principal of Munroe College in St Elizabeth, went on to say: "I think the minister was very honest in relation to the challenges that are facing education; we understand there are some far-reaching issues facing the Government, as such, the minister came to say we have to find new ways.
The four-day conference, which was held under the theme, 'Creating a Culture of Professionalism within a Complex Environment' attracted more than 200 principals and vice-principals from schools cross the island.