Despite reports of an initial push back, the first cohort of 19 attending the Effective Principal’s Licensure Programme completed the initiative and were celebrated at a recognition ceremony on 24 May.
The programme was presented by the National College of Educational leadership (NCEL) Jamaica and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education in Jamaica, and former member of the local programme facilitator team, Dr Maurice Smith indicated some initial bumpiness in the BVI undertaking.
In relating the early experience the former programme facilitator praised Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn for his dedication to the licensure undertaking: “Leadership is believing in something, having some standards and having the guts to stick to it, and Minister Walwyn, please forgive me Sir, I remember when I first came here two years ago there was some push back and look at us now. You stuck to the task Minister; that is what leadership is,” Dr. Smith said in reference to the early days of the programme.
“I can say this: I am not a politician; I am not related to one; I have no vote here on the island, but Minister you are leading the charge and – from where I sit – I believe you are doing an excellent job. I want to encourage you, despite the push back, despite the criticisms, you have set the direction, you have charted the course, and you are going to reap the fruit of your labour,” Dr. Smith added.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education in Jamaica admonished the school administrators to change their schools, and communities: “Do not be a victim of the institution, but rather be a beacon for the community…I want to challenge you that whatever it is that you have to do, just get up and do it. It is not good enough to identify the problem, it’s better to find the solution…Being a victim to a threshold is bad, but what is worse is when we fall prey to limits and barriers…You have crossed that threshold tonight…Prove to yourself and others that you can thrive and you can excel,” he declared.
Minister Walwyn explained that the Effective Principals’ Licensure Programme was designed, amongst other things, to improve documentation and reporting, improve school planning, improve engagement of parents, and provide a greater commitment to improving the performance of all students.
Hon. Walwyn explained that principal licensure will become the new norm of the education sector: “We feel so strongly about having sound leadership in our schools, that we have taken the policy decision that we will only appoint principals in our schools that have been licensed. That licence would require persons to go through a course as rigorous as this one, or another sanctioned by the Ministry of Education,” the Minister noted.
Among other things the Education Minister charged the school administrators to transform their classrooms and campuses to environments that excite students and to remain accountable to students, parents and teachers. “Ensure your leadership remains active at all times amongst your teachers and not just on occasions for discipline,” he added.
Nine of the 19 Principals exceeded expectations during the programme. These Principals were: Valerie Charles-Welsh, Enid Scatliffe Pre-primary; Donna Clyne-Thomas, Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS); Orlandette Crabbe, Joyce Samuel Primary; Desiree Fahie-Butler, Alexandrina Maduro Primary; Pearlette Frazer-Smith, Leonora Deville Primary; Vansittart Huggins, Eslyn Henley Richiez Learning Centre; Heida Joyles-Selwood, Bregado Flax Educational Centre; Carleen Simmonds-Parson, Enis Adams Primary; and Sandy Underhill, Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS).
The other principals and senior educators who completed the programme were: Kayrid Chalwell, Willard Wheatley Primary; Norma Creque, Robinson O’ Neal Memorial Primary; Paul Fenty, Bregado Flax Educational Centre; Marieta Headley, Althea Scatliffe Primary; Hilroy George, Bregado Flax Educational Centre; Deborah James, Francis Lettsome Primary; Letetia Penn-Rogers, Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS); Keturah Smith, Isabella Morris Primary; Ronda Smith, Althea Scatliffe Primary; and Enid Penn-Charles, Willard Wheatley Primary.
The ceremony featured remarks from Premier and Minister for Finance, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith, Dr. Marcia Potter, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Mr. Arthur Selwood, Education Officer and Mrs. Orlandette Crabbe, Licensed Principal of Joyce Samuel Primary School.