Principals of Primary and Secondary Schools gathered at the Public Service Training Centre last Friday for a Principal’s Meeting.
It was at this meeting that Education Minister Hon. Petter Saint Jean addressed the ministry’s plan of action for the academic year.
He stated that the Government recognizes the significance of Education and that education continues to be a top priority for this administration.
The minister sought to enlist the help of principals in achieving Governments goals.
“Our children face many distractions which may interrupt their learning however, I believe that it is our responsibility to provide them with the right environment that promotes effective teaching and learning. You principals have the most important role in ensuring that our children receive the best opportunity for education.”
The Minister emphasized that principals should adopt the Ministry of Education’s policy that, “Every Child can learn.”
“When students believe that success is possible they will try, therefore the first priority at any school or in any classroom is to help students believe in themselves and their ability to learn.”
The Minister urged principals to take charge of their schools and to be effective managers.
“You must therefore be effective managers, leading your staff and students in the direction that you feel are most progressive for your school. You are key to the success of your school. We trust that in your position you are well able to be decisive in ways that are parallel to the mission of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development which is every child can learn through the provision of high quality education.”
While governing a school may have its challenges, the Minister stated that each Principal must regard themselves as game changers.
“We live in a changing environment, in an age of innovation and technology. No longer can we depend on outdated ways and modes as we did before. And so it is okay to adapt to the changes to meet the needs of your students. You must be willing to take your school into new areas, into new levels of teaching and learning. This I believe could mean making use of the technology that has been made available at some of your schools which I have been advised in many cases are not being put to maximum use. Move away from the old modalities and be innovative and creative.”
The minister reckons that in order for a school to be managed effectively a great emphasis must be placed on classroom management.
Principals must be stringent with teachers.
“As principles you need to ensure that your teachers are engaged in best classroom practices. You must pay close attention to the delivery of the curriculum. Gone are the days when we as a Ministry can accept teachers walking into classrooms unprepared, delivering from the top of their heads expecting students to do well. We are charged with the future of this nation. We must move from our comfort zones and cause those subordinates under our charge to understand that this is the time for positive change.”
The minister gave stern warning to the principals regarding teachers that have a lackadaisical approach to teaching.
“No longer can we accept teachers believing that anything works. In fact I’ve said to my Chief that we cannot and will not condone the lackadaisical attitude that is prevalent among a minority of our teachers and I will venture to step on some toes. If you know that a teacher is a drunk, you need to report him or her. You cannot have a walking bottle dealing with the future of this country. You cannot have a distillery at your school. I am serious about that! This is the time for change. You cannot have a young lady whose dress calls into question every individual who walks into your school. These matters must be taken seriously.”