Education minister unveils school inspection report news jamaica gleaner monday december 16 2013

Education minister unveils school inspection report

Thwaites

The latest National Education Inspectorate (NEI) report highlights what appears to be a pre-occupation of school administrators with the acquiring of resources, while less focus is being placed on teaching and learning as well as leadership and management.

According to the NEI, this attitude is pervasive, even among school leaders who have been allocated sufficient resources to facilitate effective teaching and learning.

The findings presented in the Chief Inspector’s Report are based on 304 schools that were inspected between September 2012 and March 2013.

Details of the Chief Inspector’s Report were presented on December 13 by Education Minister Ronald Thwaites at a media briefing held at the Courtleigh Hotel.

The briefing was also used by the Education Minister to present updates on key policy and operational matters which were highlighted in his presentation to the Sectoral Debate earlier this year.

In its report, the Chief Inspector concluded that too many principals of primary and secondary schools inspected in its last round were focused on insufficiency of resources rather than on how best to use the resources at their disposal.

While acknowledging that some institutions are inadequately resourced, the NEI maintains that sufficient resources are available at many schools. “This has, in some ways, restricted creativity and innovation, and has led to a situation where there is greater emphasis on what is lacking than on what can be done with that which is available. There is need for a rethink, and, therefore, we must now begin to refocus on the quality of pedagogical practices, so as to bring about the improvements that are required, in the shortest possible time,” the Chief Inspector stated.

In its report, the NEI pointed to a mixture of underperformance and good performance among primary and secondary schools, but indicated that more schools needed to cross over into the threshold of satisfactory or good. “There are several encouraging signs which underscore the belief that the required improvements are not beyond us. These include the fact that the vast majority of teachers are qualified. In general, the students are well-behaved and socially adjusted, and amidst the challenges, there are some schools that are making more-than-acceptable progress,” said the Chief Inspector.

Ratings of institutions

Approximately 45 per cent or 140 of the schools inspected in this round were rated as effective, while 55 per cent or 164 were rated as ineffective.

Leadership and management in one per cent of the schools was rated as exceptionally high; eight per cent as good; and 46 per cent as satisfactory. Forty-one per cent were rated as unsatisfactory and four per cent as needing immediate support.

Teaching support in four per cent of the schools was rated as good and 49 per cent were rated as satisfactory. Forty-six per cent was rated as unsatisfactory and one per cent as needing immediate support.

In the area of students’ attainment, six per cent of the schools inspected were above the national average in the Ministry of Education’s targets for English and mathematics. Fifteen per cent were at the national average, and 79 per cent were below the national average.

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General Education

National Trends and Analyses

  • GLOBAL LEARNING IN COLLEGE: Cross-Cutting Capacities for 21st-Century College Students in Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 16–18, 2014. Register by September 2 for best conference rates.
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LIBERAL EDUCATION, GLOBAL FLOURISHING, AND THE EQUITY IMPERATIVE in Washington, DC, January 21-24, 2015. Proposals due July 14, 2014.

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    2014 SUMMER INSTITUTES

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    Individuals under 18 years of age are required to complete a driver education course and present the Texas Driver Education Certificate (DE-964) at the driver license office.

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    Summer jobs for students

    Summer Jobs

    Student looking for a summer job – what is out there? Summer jobs are one of the most sought after work opportunities in the UK at the moment. Nearly everyone still in education gets a summer holiday, and a huge percentage of you look for work during this time.

    Recommended Summer Jobs

    1. Summer Camp Jobs:

    Enjoy working with kids? Spend this summer working at summer camps in the UK or abroad. There are loads of summer camps such as sports camps, adventure camps, special needs camps, educational summer schools, and many more, which recruit for roles including activity leaders, sports coaches, teachers, mentors, kitchen staff, and office staff. Most provide food and accommodation as well as a salary, so they are a great way spending the summer in a new town or country! Most summer camps need staff from April or June through to September, so it’s a great summer job for students, and adds great experience to your CV.

    2. Theme Park Jobs:

    Give people the time of their lives this summer by working at a theme park! Help ensure that park visitors have a day to remember and leave with huge smiles on their faces. There are loads of roles to choose from including ride attendants, retail, food & beverage, sales, customer service, cleaning, warehouse, photography and entertainment, so there is something to suit a wide range of ages, skills and interests. Work the whole season (spring to autumn) or just during your holidays. Part time and full time hours are available so this is a wonderful summer job option for students!

    3. Summer Festival Jobs:

    Between June and September each summer there are stack loads of festivals right across the UK, and they all have loads of summer job opportunities for students. You can do anything from security and stewarding jobs right through to bar work and selling merchandise. You will get free entry to the festival and some jobs will include accommodation and food as well. If you want guaranteed entry to your favourite summer festivals then why not get paid to go as well, with a fantastic summer festival job!

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    5. Recruitment Agencies:

    A few years ago a survey showed that the UK has the largest temporary workforce in the whole of Europe. Over 1 million people work for recruitment agencies, providing short or longer term cover in a huge range of industries. With this figure steadily increasing, there are always summer jobs working for an agency. The great thing about agency work is that availability is high in peak holiday seasons – including the Summer. Many full-time workers are keen to take time off during the Summer period, leaving offices and other businesses understaffed and in need of staff cover. Register with local recruitment agencies and they will call you when they have suitable jobs for you.

    6. Retail Opportunities:

    More and more shops exist these days – and more and more staff are needed to keep them running. In the Summer, people shop more, staff go on holiday more, and so they recruit more! As Summer jobs go, working in a shop is a great way of earning money, knowing what hours you are expected to do, and build up experience. If you add to this the latest trend of extended hours shopping, even 24 hour shopping in some supermarkets, then you can see why they require extra staff. Summer jobs can also be found in out of town stores, and retail parks, which have more trouble recruiting people due to their location. If you are looking for a full time summer job then showing a commitment to the company over a longer period of time may well help secure the job. Many students start working part time in shops and other businesses and find that they can progress to full time, and return in the holidays. Once you have been trained and are competent many companies will look to keep you and use the skills that you have acquired – even if it means you only working a few months every summer during your holidays.

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    What is education for?

    Education can’t be separated from politics. The political system of a society will directly and indirectly influence the education system and this will also motivate challenge and opposition to both.

    Well, my first thought is that education must have something to do with one person or group wanting to have control or power over another. How could a system or process such as education come about for any other reason? Or perhaps it was the early process of findings things out so as to aid development and progress and was passed on to others as co-operation to help them do the same? Or a combination of these two. Or perhaps education developed as a process and system for wholly other reasons.

    However it began, it has become an established system, a comprehensive process and a compulsory activity. All societies everywhere value education: it is a universal good thing. Our children and young people must be educated. Why? How did it become such a universal necessity? The idea that education is a social good is a difficult one to challenge.

    Education can’t be separated from politics. The political system of a society will directly and indirectly influence the education system and this will also motivate challenge and opposition to both. That education cannot be neutral is an axiom. But it can’t be seen to be wholly ideological either, at least not in parliamentary democracies. Balance, that most arbitrary of concepts, is at the heart of most educational systems. A balanced argument, one that takes into account both sides of the story is one of the highest valued of concepts, particularly in western capitalist democracies.

    And balance is taught in our schools and our universities. Beware the totalitarian perspective. And the alternative taught is that we must see both sides of the argument: religious and atheist; competition and co-operation; black and white; right and left; Catholic and Protestant; Christian and Muslim; East and West; carnivore and vegetarian etc. etc. Binary divides then seem to dominate this ‘balanced’ view of the world. Both sides are deemed to be valid, both are worthy of consideration and deliberation. In fact it is essential to take into account both perspectives.

    Life, in fact, actually might be more nuanced, more complex, more contingent, more fluid than this and not merely made up of a set of binary perspectives. If this is the case, then what are the implications for a ‘balanced education’?

    It could be a myth, a smokescreen, a distraction so that capitalism can continue with its endless profit-seeking. It could be an over-simple notion of attempting to present more than one perspective. It could be a mistaken and misguided attempt to be fair, to be even handed, to give both sides a fair crack of the whip.

    How about ideas, thoughts, feelings and notions that don’t fit into either side? And just in case you were wondering, these ideas are not in the ‘centre’ either. They are not a compromise between the two. They are not pleasing everyone or even some people some of the time. They are ideas that just are, not categorisable, not located on a spectrum. Maybe, binary divides, categories, spectra, continua, labels and compartments are part of the problem? They actually contain so-called problems which then remain forever unaddressed, unsolved and constantly replayed. You only need to be alive for around 20 years in the West before you to begin to notice a recycling of these social and educational problems.

    Should schools be doing more to address bullying? What can we do about teenage pregnancy? Is immigration too high? How do we get taxation levels right? Can we afford an NHS but can we do without it? What can governments do about economic inequalities? Is global warming inevitable? Is private education better than state? Should public spending be curbed? Are A levels marked too generously?

    If you live for a lot longer than 20 years, you have seen these and many other ‘problems’ recycled over and over again by the media and the state. It gets very tedious and many of us give up listening and thinking about them. Cynicism is the inevitable result.

    These social problems or questions are always, or almost always, situated within a binary perspective. Left(ish) and right(ish) is a common one in western democracies. Others are free market and state intervention and competition and co-operation. Binary divides are often presented as opposing perspectives and equally often a balanced view implies that they must be combined, a compromise must be sought: a mixed economy; a progressive taxation system, a low inflation, high growth economy. Binary divides require arbitration, a bringing together and mixing of the two.

    Are our lives actually like this? As a construction, they are. Could ideas that can’t be categorised in the way that is described here upset the consensus? Can they challenge the idea of balance based upon binary divides? Perhaps.

    This categorisation and division of ideas into convenient binaries forms very palatable discourses, for the paper, broadcast and electronic media and for politicians, which then become something of a universal common sense. This process is characteristic of the dominant discourses of the western democracies. We are fed a diet of ideas that seem immediately palatable, no matter how unpleasant tasting they are to some of us. Ideas based upon so-called common-sense seem to be unchallengeable. They reserve a place in our hearts and our minds. Terrorism is evil, teenage parents are a social problem and obesity is the responsibility of the individual

    Media, in its many and varied contemporary forms, employ categories, invariably based upon binary perspectives, that provide us with the news in ways that we find immediately recognisable and digestible for being such. Again for some of us, the result is boredom and cynicism.

    It seems all too easy for ideas to be compartmentalized in this way. Philosophical discourse often eludes this treatment because of its complexities. It is sometimes characterized as obscure, self-referential and elitist and some of these criticisms seem justified. The gulf in understanding between popular and philosophical discourse is enormous. Yet philosophies also often contain challenges and threats to the dominance of popular common-sense. They provide us with a source of ideas that are, at least potentially, not susceptible to the manipulation of the media and politicians. Hope seems to be present here in the form of different approaches to knowledge, language and discourses.

    Initially post-structuralist thought, and then the various and myriad strands of intellectual development that have emerged from it and in response to it, invite us to think of the world, social, environmental and technological, anew. Ideas that emerge may avoid the crunching treatment often applied by the powers that be within the media and politics. Hope presents some possibilities.

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    Education for the 21st Century

    “We are at an extraordinary crossroads of human history. Our actions or failure to act during the next 20 years will determine the fate of the earth and human civilisation for centuries to come.” – Dr. James Martin, The Meaning of the 21st Century.

    2020 Education is a programme for young people, teachers, professionals and organisations worldwide, who believe in a sustainable and equitable future for the planet and an education which gives everyone the opportunity to understand the issues, and be part of the solutions, from an early age. 2020 Education also gives young people valuable skills for higher education and the world of work.

    Across the UK and around the world, schools and other groups are running innovative projects which give young people practical understanding of global sustainability issues and empower them to make a difference through local action. 2020 Education aims to identify these projects, facilitate links between them, and help them grow. By promoting the amazing work already happening, we can inspire more new projects, and show that these are not isolated examples but a powerful model of what education can be in the 21st Century.

    In an age of uncertainty, 2020 Education supports the vision of forward thinking education leaders everywhere.

    The aims of 2020 Education are:

    GLOBAL ISSUES – To help young people learn about the big issues that face the world this century, by engaging them in active social, scientific or enterprise projects at a local or school level.

    SKILLS FOR EMPLOYABILITY – Through those projects, to give them professional and personal skills they need for their careers (meaning not only finding jobs but becoming active citizens whose lives are productive, meaningful and fulfilling) – and which employers say they are looking for.

    INTERCULTURAL UNDERSTANDING – To connect them, their projects and their schools with others locally, nationally and internationally, so as to build intercultural understanding and cooperation.

    PROMOTION AND INSPIRATION – To showcase the achievements of young people around the world involved in 2020 Education projects and so inspire others to start their own.

    21st CENTURY EDUCATION – To bridge the gap between school and other forms of learning, and to promote this approach as a model of education fit for the future.

    If you are already running a project you are proud of and would like more people to know about, we would like to hear from you. If you are thinking of starting a new project in your school or group, we can help you make it successful and sustainable. Please contact us.

    To find out more and get involved, please visit the 2020 Education website.