Send your principals! Education ministry to beg boards to ensure that school leaders attend training

Published: Monday | December 30, 2013 Comments 0

 Arthur Hall, Senior News Editor

Still fuming over the failure of some principals to turn up for training provided by the National College for Educational Leadership (NCEL), officials of the Ministry of Education are to meet with heads of school boards today.

The meeting, scheduled for Mandeville, Manchester, is to encourage the heads of school boards to secure the compliance of the school bosses who have been enrolled in the Effective Principals' Training Programme since November 2012.

So far, 49 of the 196 principals, or 25 per cent, have failed to show up for their training sessions.

To compound the problem, of those who have turned up for the formal training, only 51 per cent have presented a professional profile outlining how they are going to operate.

"The training is not a talk shop," declared Dr Maurice Smith, principal director of the NCEL

"We spend three days in workshops doing competency issues, so we see what the principals can do and not what they know," Smith told The Gleaner.

He said during the training, principals are exposed to areas such as how to organise to support boys' education; how to lead the teaching and learning process; roles and responsibilities of principals; how to collect and analyse data for schools; and school financial management.

According to Smith, it has been determined that while principals are doing many activities, these are not affecting the teaching and learning process, which is the core function of schools.


"The chief inspector's report continues to highlight weak leadership as a significant factor in the underperformance of schools, and so the ministry is addressing the issue," added Smith.

He noted that after the workshops, the principals are required to submit a leadership development action plan.

"This starts off with a reflection on what they can do better," noted Smith.

While the submission rate for this action plan is good, with 91 per cent of the principals meeting the stipulated deadline, the follow-through and implementation rates decline to 82 per cent and 51 per cent, respectively.

While noting that one principal had returned the training material as her school had been inspected and she had been appraised in the same academic year, Smith said the meeting today with the school board chairs would be the first of several measures to be employed by the education ministry to ensure compliance by principals.

Since November last year, the NCEL has trained 330 principals and 24 education officers in various aspects of school operations.

Last summer, the college also worked with 30 principals of schools situated in violent communities.

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