THE EDITOR, Sir:
I am quite concerned about how we grade our education system. Currently, we grade our schools based on numbers. This means that a grade 'A' school or college has a large number of students, and principals are paid accordingly.
A grade 'A' principal is, therefore, at the top of the principal's salary scale, while a grade 'B' receives less pay, and so on. What, therefore, happens is that it is incumbent on principals to fill their schools to capacity, and this often happens so that, where possible, an institution could be bursting at its seams, so to speak.
Quality is often sacrificed on the altar of quantity and to the detriment of the poor classroom teacher who often has to struggle with an overly large class size - a situation that benefits only the principal, who gets a bigger salary.
Grading schools according to size may have been appropriate back in the day when attendance was a problem and it behoved the Ministry of Education to devise measures to get children to school. Nowadays where, for the most part, individuals are attending schools and considering current socio-economic needs, we need to shift the focus to quality rather than quantity.
The Ministry of Education needs to grade schools according to the quality of performance so that when we look at a grade 'A' school, we know that the output is of such calibre. Such institutions would be set up as centres of excellence and the so-branded 'failing schools' could look at them and learn.
Bartons, St Catherine