Education
JM | Jul 6, 2022

Plans being made to transform school boards

/ Our Today

administrator
Fayval Williams, minister of education and youth.

The Ministry of Education and Youth and the National Council on Education (NCE) are putting medium and short-term strategies in place to transform the current school governance structure.

This is according to portfolio Minister Fayval Williams, who informed that several initiatives are being pursued to provide greater support to the boards of management and to transform the school governance landscape.

She noted that the short-term initiatives being pursued include reviewing the school board handbook to make it more relevant and user-friendly, “and we are 99 per cent of the way there with regard to that”.

The Education and Youth Minister was speaking during the official launch of the online School Board Platform at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Wednesday (June 29).

Minister of Education and Youth, Fayval Williams, speaks at the official launch of the online School Board Platform at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Wednesday (June 28). The establishment of the virtual portal forms part of a comprehensive strategy to transform the governance of Jamaica’s public educational institutions. (Photo: JIS)

The platform’s establishment is part of a comprehensive strategy to transform the governance of Jamaica’s public educational institutions.

“[We are also] establishing a designated webpage for school governance, through the NCE, to provide an array of resources for the boards of management, such as postings on school bulletins for ease of access by board chairmen and members, links to relevant cases that have been decided by the courts on school board matters,… publication of responses to frequently asked questions by school board members, [and] provide videos on school board training sessions for future access,” the Education Minister outlined.

In the meantime, Williams noted that in the medium term, the ministry, in collaboration with the NCE, will conduct a comprehensive review of the current governance arrangement to explore ways in which it can be transformed.

This will look at recruitment and selection of board members, developing a pool of volunteers and simplifying the board structure, making it relevant by taking account of the impact of technology on school board operations.

Fayval Williams

“Some of these amendments will require legislative changes, but there are others… that are easy to do in terms of developing a pool of volunteers. There are many out there in Jamaica who do not know…[how] to indicate that they would like to serve on a board, and what we would like to do is to have database of those persons who would like to serve. Of course, we have to do our vetting of those persons as well… [and] want to have the criteria for selection of board members [available],” she said.

Mrs. Williams noted that the idea is to pattern what the Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Nigel Clarke, has done for boards of public-sector companies in government, so that there is a very transparent process of selection of board members to schools.

“We want to continue to ensure that we provide needed resources for… [school boards] to carry out their functions adequately,” she added.

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