JIS: Operators of private schools are being encouraged to further partner with the Government as it seeks to increase the placement of infants (aged zero to three) and special needs students in these institutions.
The call comes from Deputy Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Maxine Headlam, who noted that accommodation for these children is one of the Ministry’s priorities that private schools can take advantage of, “because the Ministry, at present, does not have the scope to meet all the needs in those areas”.
She was speaking at the annual general meeting of the Jamaica Independent Schools’ Association (JISA) at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on January 31.
Ms. Headlam noted that this aspect, along with other possible areas of collaboration, is part of ongoing discussions with JISA that are expected to be included in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) now being formulated.
Other areas for partnership being explored under the pending agreement include accessing furniture, text books, and educational software through the Ministry at a reduced cost.
The MOU is also expected to speak to the issues of waivers on shipment fees and taxes for the importation of school equipment, training opportunities, and private schools having access to regional meetings of the Ministry.
Ms. Headlam said the Government is fully committed to an inclusive approach to education, noting that the Ministry is always open to dialogue and suggestions from private educators.
She noted that the Ministry has had a long history of collaboration with independent privately owned schools, and assured that work will continue to strengthen this invaluable partnership.
“We are committed to the independent schools, and we are (grateful) to them for their invaluable roles in educating our children and recommit ourselves to this partnership,” she assured.
In the meantime, President of JISA, Karlene Bisnott, said she is looking forward to the strengthening of ongoing partnerships with the Ministry through the MOU.
“We are hoping that before the school year is out, things will be so structured that within the next school year we should be seeing some of these things bearing fruit,” she told JIS News, adding that the collaboration has already started regarding text books, where the Ministry has extended the deadline for orders.
Founded in 1969, JISA is a professional organisation of principals, vice principals and directors of registered private schools.
CAPTION: Deputy Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Maxine Headlam (right), and President of the Jamaica Independent Schools’ Association (JISA), Karlene Bisnott (second right), speak to Sales and Marketing Executive, Hodder Education, Frank Mark Phipps, about some of the books the company publishes and distributes. They were visiting booths mounted as part of the annual general meeting of JISA, held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on January 31.