The latest National Education Inspectorate (NEI) report highlights what appears to be a pre-occupation of school administrators with the acquiring of resources, while less focus is being placed on teaching and learning as well as leadership and management.
According to the NEI, this attitude is pervasive, even among school leaders who have been allocated sufficient resources to facilitate effective teaching and learning.
The findings presented in the Chief Inspector's Report are based on 304 schools that were inspected between September 2012 and March 2013.
Details of the Chief Inspector's Report were presented on December 13 by Education Minister Ronald Thwaites at a media briefing held at the Courtleigh Hotel.
The briefing was also used by the Education Minister to present updates on key policy and operational matters which were highlighted in his presentation to the Sectoral Debate earlier this year.
In its report, the Chief Inspector concluded that too many principals of primary and secondary schools inspected in its last round were focused on insufficiency of resources rather than on how best to use the resources at their disposal.
While acknowledging that some institutions are inadequately resourced, the NEI maintains that sufficient resources are available at many schools. "This has, in some ways, restricted creativity and innovation, and has led to a situation where there is greater emphasis on what is lacking than on what can be done with that which is available. There is need for a rethink, and, therefore, we must now begin to refocus on the quality of pedagogical practices, so as to bring about the improvements that are required, in the shortest possible time," the Chief Inspector stated.
In its report, the NEI pointed to a mixture of underperformance and good performance among primary and secondary schools, but indicated that more schools needed to cross over into the threshold of satisfactory or good. "There are several encouraging signs which underscore the belief that the required improvements are not beyond us. These include the fact that the vast majority of teachers are qualified. In general, the students are well-behaved and socially adjusted, and amidst the challenges, there are some schools that are making more-than-acceptable progress," said the Chief Inspector.
Ratings of institutions
Approximately 45 per cent or 140 of the schools inspected in this round were rated as effective, while 55 per cent or 164 were rated as ineffective.
Leadership and management in one per cent of the schools was rated as exceptionally high; eight per cent as good; and 46 per cent as satisfactory. Forty-one per cent were rated as unsatisfactory and four per cent as needing immediate support.
Teaching support in four per cent of the schools was rated as good and 49 per cent were rated as satisfactory. Forty-six per cent was rated as unsatisfactory and one per cent as needing immediate support.
In the area of students' attainment, six per cent of the schools inspected were above the national average in the Ministry of Education's targets for English and mathematics. Fifteen per cent were at the national average, and 79 per cent were below the national average.