Students must be included in school leadership, says Green
State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Floyd Green, is calling for the revitalisation of student councils in schools where they are not currently functioning.
He noted that student participation, through these councils, is a vital part of the leadership of institutions.
“I hope that you are incorporating your students in a real way, and put them at the centre of learning as a partner in the process of building a great institution. Too many leaders give a token response to having students as a vital part of the process,” he said.
“Leadership is a critical component in whether an institution rises or falls. Students should be encouraged to take ownership and be made to be part of the leadership of their schools,” Green added.
He was addressing hundreds of principals, vice-principals and heads of departments from schools across the island at an educational leadership and management training session at Mandeville Hotel, Manchester, on April 19.
The state minister told the group that they are among the most important people in the educational matrix, noting that schools rise on the backs of their leaders.
“Good leadership makes a significant difference in your lives; the ministry has recognised this and wants to make your job easier. Leadership is truly about directing, motivating, inspiring and creating an atmosphere where others want to participate to make schools and institutions better,” he pointed out.
He urged the members to recognise their weaknesses and deficiencies and take steps to make the necessary improvements.
He noted that there were many examples of good leadership throughout the education system, but not enough is being shared.
“My hope is that from what you do today, you will share among each other your successes, difficulties and how you are crafting solutions to deal with them. We look externally, but sometimes we have the answers among us. Share and transfer knowledge today so you leave feeling more inspired and better able to lead your institutions,” he urged.
The state minister also pointed to the need to prepare students for the demands of the global labour market.
“How many of you are expanding or limiting the horizons of the young people you deal with?” he asked, noting that “now more than ever, we are not training only for Jamaica, because the world is now our complete playground”.
Noting that years ago, the tendency was to encourage bright students to do law and medicine, Green said technical skills are the leading source of jobs today, and these areas are commanding top salaries.
As it relates to school maintenance, he said that significant sums are being allocated for infrastructure works at primary schools. “The allocation for each child has moved from $850 to $2,500,” he pointed out.