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Quit griping about bursar duties, ministry says of school principals

Published:Thursday | November 28, 2019 | 12:40 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
Owen Speid, president of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association.
Owen Speid, president of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association.

The Ministry of Education,Youth and Information (MOEYI) has said that all school leaders are expected to do financial management, noting that it is not an “unreasonable demand”.

The ministry’s response comes after Jamaica Teachers’ Association President Owen Speid made an appeal last Monday for primary schools to be assigned bursars.

Speid said it was unfeasible to offload accounting duties on principals who are also expected to manage academic, administrative, and other affairs at schools.

In a written response to The Gleaner yesterday, the ministry highlighted that this aspect of the portfolio is included in the recruitment and selection exercise.

It also outlined that principals at the primary level are not responsible for the management of student fees, salaries, deductions, or utilities.

“They manage tuck shop or a canteen and basic day-to-day operational expenditures such as procurement of goods and services,” the statement read.

The education ministry said that in most cases, the duties are delegated to teachers with “posts of special responsibility”, and principals are only required to supervise.

“The ministry has been looking at the issue for some time and has already asked bursars who worked in former primary and junior high schools to serve a cluster of primary institutions, especially the larger ones, in some regions. Roving bursars will also be recruited and deployed to serve the other schools that are not yet being served,” the response read.

The National College for Educational Leadership provides ongoing training in financial management for principals. School principals also receive guidance from regional financial controllers and the finance committee of the board.

The ministry also cited academic training in educational management that principals would have undergone as being inclusive of basic accounting and financial management.