STATEMENT TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES BY HON. REV. RONALD THWATES, MINISTER OF EDUCATION ON THE NATIONAL COLLEGE FOR EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP
Mr Speaker, I am pleased to update this honourable House on the activities of the National College for Educational Leadership (NCEL), one of the frontline agencies of the Ministry of Education that is engaged in the task of improving education outcomes.
Mr Speaker, the education system is a huge amalgamation of moving parts that are intertwined. In order to improve education outcomes several parts or dimensions of this giant juggernaut have to be transformed simultaneously. NCEL has been focused on addressing weaknesses in the area of school leadership and management.
This is a critical area, as several pieces of research have indicated that the quality of leadership in a school is a determining factor in how effectively that institution carries out its core functions of teaching and learning. In addition, the National Education Inspectorate found that less than 60 per cent (57%) of schools assessed up to June 2014 were rated as satisfactory and above in leadership and management. A little over forty per cent (43%) were deemed to be unsatisfactory.
EXPAND PRINCIPAL POOL
In addition, the pool of competent persons from which principals are to be drawn needs to be replenished continually. There are currently1598 principals and vice principals in the public education system. During the current academic year 116 principals and vice principals are due to retire and 140 are projected to do likewise during the 2015/2016 academic year.
Against this background NCEL has embarked aggressively on the upgrading of principals and senior school personnel to become effective instructional leaders. In 2014 the College conducted training for 1270 school leaders in a number of critical areas so as to improve student performance. The accompanying Ministry paper details the training undertaken for the past two years.
The majority of the training programmes have been aimed at improving the skills and competencies of persons performing current roles. Principals are expected to satisfy post-training requirements that include the following:
- submission of a growth plan that has to be approved;
- implementation of the plan in schools;
- preparation of a professional portfolio; and
NCEL programmes emphasize the practice of leadership more so than the theory, and the building of competencies rather than acquisition of concepts. This approach to leadership development has yielded new possibilities for individual growth, student learning and school transformation
I share some testimonials from participants in the Effective Principals’ Training Programme:
Evorine Henry-Tracey, Principal of Brimmer Vale High in St Mary
“As a new Principal, I found the leadership training very useful. It gave me a sense of focus and helped me to attain some important goals in some very crucial areas of management and leadership. I am positive that my school was made better for the training as we were able to reduce expenditure in some areas with a better knowledge and practice of financial management. We have since significantly improved relationships both internally and with the wider community. Overall, it was a good exercise which was so beneficial that I continue to build on documenting evidence so as to develop a culture of school planning and data management.”
Rayan Williams, Principal – Barbary Hall Primary School in Manchester
“The leadership training that I have received from NCEL was very current, applicable and practical towards educational leadership. The modules focus on the key areas of school development and are relevant to the transformation of the education system thus enabling us to achieve the goals of Vision 2030. The programme built my capacity as a principal; it provided me with the skills and knowledge necessary to empower teachers to become better educators. Since completing the first round, my approach, attitude and leadership skills have been enhanced. These are very much evident throughout the school as I have been sharing same with staff, parents and students.”
Kaydeen Miles-McLean, Education Officer - Region 4
“I found the Effective Principals’ Training Programme most beneficial. As Education Officer, I was forced to reflect and take responsibility for the challenges I have that negatively impact the efficient delivery of service to my schools. Instead of blaming others for the tasks that were not done, I had to systematically reconfigure my approach to ensure the achievement of set goals. The programme allowed me to be target driven and work within specific time lines. My networking skills were sharpened. Team work became essential and greater sense of togetherness was developed within the Quality Education Circle (QEC.) I felt a high degree of satisfaction and accomplishment as I realised that I had made a significant impact on the lives of those I supervised. I also grew personally and professionally.”
ASPIRING PRINCIPALS’ PROGRAMME
In addition to on-the-job-training for current position holders in the education system, NCEL is also preparing prospective principals through the Aspiring Principals’ Programme. This nine-month post-graduate level programme is delivered in partnership with the University of the West Indies.
Recognising the importance of closing the deficit for competent principals, the Ministry of Education awarded fellowships to 40 participants to pursue the Aspiring Principals’ 4 Programme. They will be conferred with the Professional Qualification for Principalship in March 2015. One hundred participants are now being recruited for Round Two of the Aspiring Principals’ Programme.
It is important to note, Mr Speaker, that at a future date it will become mandatory for candidates applying to fill vacancies for principals to possess this certification. The Ministry of Education is confident that placing persons with the appropriate competence and aptitude in the leadership of schools will contribute to the overall improvement in education outcomes.
UPDATE ON THE NATIONAL COLLEGE FOR EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP (NCEL)
This Honourable House is being asked to note the progress made by the Ministry of Education (MoE), through the National College for Educational Leadership (NCEL), established in 2011, to set and maintain standards for school leadership.
In 2013, the Inter-Development Bank (IDB) funded a local study to determine what in the Jamaican context, was an effective school. Leadership was identified as a significant variable (Watson-Williams & Fox, 2013). Fifty-seven per cent (57%) of the eight hundred and four (804) schools which were assessed up to June 2014 received a rating of satisfactory and above in leadership and management. Forty-three per cent (43%) were deemed to be unsatisfactory. As a consequence, the MoE is continuing its concerted thrust to improve the quality and effectiveness of leadership in the nation’s schools.
ACHIEVEMENTS TO DATE
Since February 2013, NCEL has:
- Established a Steering Committee to provide technical direction to the development of the College’s strategic goals, policies and programmes. The Steering Committee, which comprises sector representatives, is chaired by the Manager of the Joint Board of Teacher Education (JBTE). Its work is done through three sub-committees: Programme Development and Quality Assurance; Governance and Organizational Framework; and International Relations, Business Planning, Marketing & Stakeholder Communication.
- Introduced the:
- Effective Principals’ Training Programme (EPTP) which is designed to serve the developmental needs of school leaders through an emphasis on the practice of leadership. Five hundred and forty seven (547) Principals and Education Officers have been trained under the EPTP.
- Aspiring Principals’ Programme (APP) designed to adequately prepare individuals for the task of the principalship prior to recruitment. The post graduate level programme is delivered in partnership with the University of the West Indies, Mona. NCEL has engaged one cohort of forty (40) individuals. The second cohort is to be recruited in January 2015.
- The System and School Leaders’ Coaching Programme (SSLCP), developed in partnership with the British Council as a proactive approach to helping school and system leaders improve their effectiveness and performance. Thirty (30) individuals who have completed training will be accredited in February 2015.
- Leadership of Place (LoP) to equip principals who lead schools in volatile communities to successfully manage the task. Thirty (30) principals were trained.
- Information Technology Leadership was delivered to 70 leaders of institutions on the Tablets in Schools Project.
- Supported the:
- Leadership of Math (LoM) Programme in collaboration with the National Math Team. The training covers the Operationalizing Instructional Leadership; the Role of the Principal/Head of Department in the Teaching and Learning of Math; Curriculum Development and Planning, and Assessment Practices. To date, 291 High School Principals and Heads of Departments have been trained. Training of 620 Primary School Principals will be completed in December 2014.
- Training of 42 school leaders whose institutions are now piloting the New Standards Curriculum.
NCEL has also accomplished the following:
- Signed contract with the Government of the British Virgin Islands to train their principals. Similar relationships with other countries in the region are being pursued.
- Published in February and November 2014 the photographs and names of Education Officers and Principals who have done well in the EPTP.
- In December 2014, received a Bright Spot Award for the EPTP as an innovative approach to leadership development in the Caribbean from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development’s (formerly the Canadian International Development Agency).
- Pursued a Memorandum of Understanding with the Institut Aminuddin Baki (IAB) in Malaysia for bilateral support and technical assistance with respect to on-going professional development for system and school leaders. The College has been awarded a grant of US$50,000 from the World Bank to support this partnership.
- Received a grant from the Organization of American States / InterAmerican Teacher Education Network to develop the UCLP in November 2014.
- Been invited to present its work to the 46th Meeting of the CXC Council in December 2014.
- Projected for implementation in April 2015, are the:
- Executive Leadership Training Programme (ELTP) for current and existing leaders within the Central Ministry and its agencies.
- School Financial Management and Administrative Training Programme (SFMATP) for Bursars, Assistant Bursars, Clerical Assistants and teachers in primary schools with financial responsibilities.
- University and College Administrators Leadership Programme (UCLP) for senior administrators of the island’s Universities and Colleges.
- Middle Leaders’ Training Programme (MLTP) for Vice-Principals, Heads of Departments and Grade Coordinators.
- Implementation of a Learning Management System and Portal by March 2015;
- Introduction of an Executive Principals’ League (EPL) to recognise excellence in the principalship, provide peer support and undertake philanthropic activities.
NCEL has over the three quarters of the 2014 – 2015 financial year expended some J$25m with another J$26m committed for contracts that have been signed. It is projected to need some J$22m to support its programmes during the upcoming financial year.
Ronald Thwaites, MP