Strong schools to lift weak
Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
The Ministry of Education has signalled that it is in the process of initiating an innovative partnership arrangement, involving institutions at the secondary level, that would enable stronger high schools to assist weaker ones in practical ways.
Education Minister Ronald Thwaites told The Gleaner that this strategic empowerment project is the result of a search for new ways to lift the quality of the educational delivery to students at the secondary level.
"It is something that I am pushing … . I am asking all the so-called 'name-brand' schools to do it," said Thwaites.
He told The Gleaner that this new approach to teaching and learning has resulted in the prestigious Wolmer's Boys' School taking on the upgraded Kingston High School, which is in the process of taking on a new principal.
"It's not formal yet, but I have asked Wolmer's, which is a pedigree school and located across the [National Heroes] Park, to extend the brand to Kingston High, and to meet with them and see how they can share facilities, staff and opportunities between the two schools," Thwaites said.
With Kingston High located on Upper King Street in Central Kingston and Wolmer's Boys' situated at National Heroes Circle in the constituency represented by Thwaites, the schools are less than a mile apart.
Thwaites noted that Campion College, another top-flight secondary institution, is assisting the upgraded Mona High School, and the historically esteemed Jamaica College has been asked to assist Papine High.
"Where there is proximity, it's easier, and that's the important thing," said Thwaites, who, like his predecessors, has repeatedly been challenged to rescue upgraded high schools by addressing inequities in the education sector.
Thwaites noted that Campion College has gone further by assisting the new Mount St Joseph High School in Mandeville, Manchester.
"They have sent one of their staff members to be principal, and there is going to be sharing, by virtual means, in areas such as science lectures," said Thwaites.
"What one school doesn't have, the other school can offer."
The Government has been challenged to tackle the problem of underachievement in upgraded high schools to be assured of a productive and functional labour force capable of competing in a fiercely competitive and globalised marketplace.