Jamaica’s Broad-based Brainpowering – Part 2, the Vision

“A vision is a clearly-articulated, results-oriented picture of a future you intend to create.

It is a dream with direction.”

Zemel

I had the privilege of hearing the vision of Minister Andrew Holness on educational transformation.

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He shared the challenges and the vision to drive us to a new reality.
In part 1, we shared the challenges to the system.

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We will now share the details of the vision.
it is a three prong vision comprising :

  • Parenting accountability
  • Teaching performance acceleration
  • School infrastructure investment.

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Talk to any primary school teacher, and their number one lament is the state of
the behavior of the students.  My reading on childhood development shares that
if the mental ability of self control is not developed by age 3, the chances of this
happening is severely diminished.  The minister shared that parenting will be defined within terms
of the public good
.  The current practice is one where most of the responsibility of parenting is passed to grandparents.

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The national debate has been engaged on this issue by none other than the prime Minister in a recent address to educators.  Read  his comments carefully.

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Prime Minister Bruce Golding says democracy does not apply to the rearing of children.
He said, “As committed as I am to democracy, there is no democracy in bringing up children. There are rules that have to be laid down; there is a certain standard of behaviour that must be demanded and when it is not forthcoming, it must be sanctioned.
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This is heavy stuff folks.  What should be the the right balance and methods used by the government to influence the family unit for its betterment?

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The next component is focused on the leaders of the classrooms.  Teachers are the catalyst that inspire wisdom, skills, and knowledge to the students. The platform of excellence need to be raised and made uniform through the system.
The profession of teaching has been one where the reward of the student success exceeded the monetary rewards.  Performance incentives are on the table to drive results beyond the ordinary.

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The final leg of the stool is investing in new school infrastructure.  The demographics demand the building of 200 new schools, with 45 new high schools.

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The approach being considered is cutting edge in its approach. A private/public partnership is being considered.  The government would enter into contract with a private company that would be the primary owner of the facility.   The establishment of a national educational trust fund to resource this system is being formulated.

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A diaspora bond successfully used in Israel and India to fund great achievements in these countries is the instrument being developed.  The launch date is slated for the end of 2009.

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This is out of the box thinking as other private investors is looking for skin in the game from the diaspora to combine efforts to propel Jamaica in the 21 st. century.

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Minister  Holness has engineered a bold game plan that has all the right engines to power the development of our human futures.
I readily support the fundamentals of this plan.
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There are two concerns I have in giving unquestioned support.  They are:
1) How will he and his team get buy in from the current system that is elitist in nature ?
2) How will his team manage the parenting issue without overly intrusive government intervention?

Will marriage be encouraged and strengthen?

What role will the institution of the church play in buttressing the education transformation?

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Minister Holness has a keen grasp of the scope and depth of his charter. He also knows that building the
equity of public trust is key.

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I now understand why he spent much minutes talking about corruption.
He declared that corruption will find no refuge in this government.  The rooting out of this cancer in
the police force is evidence of a determination to ensure a transparency that will serve us well in the wider community. I have much confidence in this transforming direction! .

Now, have your say – what is your opinion on his plan?

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