swilson's blog

Making Home Ownership a Reality through Financially Sound Decisions with your partners at the National Housing Trust

Making Home Ownership a Reality through Financially Sound Decisions



The road to homeownership is an exciting journey. It can give you a sense of personal satisfaction to have a home of your own to share and enjoy with family and friends. However, for many Jamaicans the thought of buying a house doesn’t just feel far away, but nearly impossible. With so many new developments and houses on the market and the high costs associated with home ownership, many Jamaicans are daunted and even demotivated. Like any major decision, one need to exercise careful considerations as home ownership should ideally be one such priority. After all, it is by far one of the biggest financial decisions one has to make in their lifetime. The key to making homeownership a reality is to ensure that you have a sound financial plan and a feasible budget to set aside money that will be needed for expenses such as making the deposit and other fees including closing costs, stamp duties, lawyer fees etc. It can be a very costly venture but with sound and early financial intervention, it is achievable. At the end of the day, it all comes down to saving and planning.


Special Education: Understanding Down Syndrome



Cute isn't she! Can you tell just by looking that something is wrong with her?                                                                                                                       

The Retired Principal: Leadership Lessons

The Retired Principal: Leadership Lessons by Mrs. Catherine Malcolm



I would imagine that very few persons who aspire to be a school leader would not be aiming to be successful. Principals, sometimes do not share experiences and insights with each other so as to facilitate shared learning experiences. This article has been written through a reflective lens to identify and highlight experiences gained in my years of experience in School leadership. As such, my focus is to highlight important lessons learnt in being an effective School leader. My role as an assessor with the NCEL programme  also provides me with in-depth knowledge of the programme and the opportunity to consider connections between my own past experiences and aspects of the NCEL training programme. 

Chronicles of a Principal Aspirant: Moving into the Era of Children First: A Paradigm of Change

Chronicles of a Principal Aspirant:  Moving into the Era of Children First: A Paradigm of Change

Lavern Stewart


The Challenge

School leadership is challenging especially in the context in which we now operate. There are evaluations based on test scores, budget cuts, strong development of an accountability culture and the constant need to find creative ways of engaging stakeholders and promoting school success.  On top of that, schools have students who are living in extreme poverty; students with social-emotional issues, and in many cases, leaders are expected to take on the role of parents and caregivers. The educational landscape is changing rapidly and students are becoming more diverse than ever and they continue to bring many of society’s problems to the school.  It's hard...


Growing Early STEM Talent: An Imperative for Increased Tertiary STEM Enrolment

Growing Early STEM Talent: An Imperative for Increased Tertiary STEM Enrolment

Author: Novlet Alicia Plunkett

The term Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) has been in the public sphere for over 15 years, with initiatives designed across different countries to increase literacy in this area. Despite the efforts, significant progress with STEM has been hindered due, in part, to the absence of a clear understanding of what STEM is, and the varied definitions that exist. It is believed that existence of the varying perspectives on STEM is as a result of the wide variety of individuals and groups with an interest in the area, and the differing roles they play in schools, institutions of higher education, industries, government and the wider society (Breiner, Harkness, Johnson & Kochler, 2012). These stakeholders have a tendency to define STEM from the perspective of its impact on their lives. For the purpose of this discourse, the operational definition on STEM education, outlined below, will be used.

Jamaica on the cutting edge of Curriculum Design: The National Standards Curriculum

Jamaica on the cutting edge of Curriculum Design: The National Standards Curriculum (NSC)

Mrs. Lena Buckle-Scott


The Education System Transformation Programme (ESTP) has been working assiduously since 2009 to modernize Jamaica’s Education System in keeping with the 2004 Task Force Report on Education Reform. The ESTP has made considerable progress regarding: the modernization and transformation of the Ministry, as well as, legislative and policy reform and system improvement. Curriculum Reform has been an integral component in the transformation of the system. The curricula for primary and lower secondary levels have been completely revised. The revision of the curricula commenced in 2012 and between 2014 – 2016 there was a pilot after which, implementation commenced on a phased basis in September 2016.

Mass Customization in Education


Mass Customization in Education

What is Mass Customization and how can it be applied to Education?

Mass customization in a general context, according to Investopedia, refers to the design, production, marketing and delivery of customized products and services on a mass basis. It means that customers can select, order, and receive a specially configured product--often choosing from hundreds of product options to meet their individual needs.   Build-to-order is a common synonym for mass customization. It makes for the affordability of more goods of very good quality on a wider range of economic levels according to the demand of the customer. Can education be treated in the same way? Can it be tailored to the demand of the individual learner thereby providing new opportunities for creating tailor made learning pathways that respond to the individual characteristics of a high number of students? Let us think carefully, What if we were to consider mass customization within the education system? I would like to proffer that it is about time we commence using mass customization as an approach for ensuring that we meet the needs of every single Jamaican child, who is deserving of the kind of quality education that will assist him or her to take his or her rightful place in society.

Leading with Self-Efficacy (Leading from Within) – Practical Strategies

Leading with Self-Efficacy (Leading from Within) – Practical Strategies

Mrs. Grace Baston


“People’s beliefs about their abilities have a profound effect on those abilities. Ability is not a fixed property; there is a huge variability in how you perform. People who have a sense of self efficacy bounce back from failures; they approach things in terms of how to handle them rather than worrying about what can go wrong.” Albert Bandura, Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control, 1997.

We are told that one of the most deleterious legacies of the colonial experience is a crippling self-doubt in the colonized people.  We are plagued by a lack of trust in our own ability to act effectively and even after decades of political independence, still look to powers outside ourselves for validation and the solutions to our problems. If Bandura is correct, then leaders in our Caribbean context have to confront and overcome not just a personal, but a culturally reinforced sense of insecurity, in order to arrive at the self-efficacy necessary for leadership. There are no shortcuts or simple formulas for undoing the result of centuries of indoctrination, but there are internal resources on which we can draw to nurture our confidence, our self-reliance and our faith in our own capacity to effect transformation.