JIS: Thirty school administrators, including principals, vice principals and members of school Boards from selected schools across the island, will be trained on how to better serve and educate students living with special education needs, at a cost of approximately $2.8 million.
This is based on the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for an Inclusive School Leadership Programme, by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information (MOEYI); the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and the National College for Educational Leadership (NCEL).
The MOU was signed at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, at Heroes Circle, on Monday (September 23).
The participants will be trained in an inclusive school leadership course under the programme.
The course is aimed at strengthening the capacity of Principals to create inclusive school environments that will ensure children living with disabilities can be successfully enrolled in mainstream schools.
Training will be funded by JSIF. However, NCEL, an agency of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information with the mandate of leading strategic initiatives that will improve school leadership, will work alongside the Special Education Unit in the Ministry, to develop and administer the professional development course for the programme.
Chief Technical Director, Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Barbara Allen, who delivered a speech on behalf of Acting Permanent Secretary, Dr. Grace McLean, said the signing of the MOU is in keeping with the mandate of the Ministry’s Special Education Unit, which has responsibility for educational provisions for students with special needs.
“The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information recognises the value of collaboration and, therefore, welcomes this opportunity. We recognise that children with diverse needs populate our education system. Inclusive education enables the creation of an environment for different students to learn side by side in the same setting,” Ms. Allen said.
“With the help of JSIF, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information will be much more advanced in serving our special needs student population,” she added.
For his part, Managing Director, JSIF, Omar Sweeney, said JSIF decided to fund this initiative under its Basic Needs Trust Fund because it will offer well-needed support to leaders in schools.
“That’s important, because while we do things in the classrooms [for students living with special needs], it is also important that we spend the necessary time to focus on the principals and the vice principals who provide leadership in the schools,” he said.
For her part, Director and Principal, NCEL, Dr. Taneisha Ingleton, reiterated that it is important to train the principals, vice principals and members of school Boards regarding educating students with special needs.
“The course will seek to help educators to transform their physical school environments and classrooms to encourage inclusivity and to facilitate the maximum learning of children with disabilities; make intentional attempts to inculcate in teachers the dispositions needed for them to create inclusive classrooms and elevate the confidence of students with disabilities, through the creation and implementation of an Inclusive School Plan,” Dr. Ingleton said.
CAPTION: Managing Director, Jamaica Social Investment Fund, Omar Sweeney (left); Director and Principal, National College for Educational Leadership, Dr. Taneisha Ingleton (centre); and Chief Technical Director, Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Barbara Allen, display folders with copies of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on Monday (September 23) at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information. The MOU makes provision for an Inclusive School Leadership Programme for school administrators.