UK-based pro­fes­sor wants so­cial jus­tice in­cluded in Ja­maican ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy

Jamaica Gleaner - - SOCIAL SOMETHING EXTRA - An­dré Poyser Staff Re­porter an­dre.poyser@glean­erjm.com

PRO­FES­SOR OF Ed­u­ca­tional Lead­er­ship and Man­age­ment at the Univer­sity of Hud­der­s­field in the United King­dom Paul Miller has called for more em­pha­sis to be placed on the is­sue of so­cial jus­tice in Ja­maica’s ed­u­ca­tion poli­cies.

“So­cial jus­tice is a non-dis­crim­i­na­tory prin­ci­ple, and for Ja­maica to ap­pear se­ri­ous about be­ing the place to “work, study, do busi­ness”, so­cial jus­tice prin­ci­ples and ac­tions need to be em­bed­ded in ed­u­ca­tional pol­icy, cur­ricu­lum con­tent, and in ed­u­ca­tional lead­er­ship prac­tices – from nurs­ery to univer­sity,” he said in re­sponse to ques­tions from The Gleaner.

Miller, who is pres­i­dent of the In­sti­tute for Ed­u­ca­tional Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Lead­er­ship, Ja­maica (IEAL-J), ar­gues that cor­rup­tion in ed­u­ca­tion is a se­ri­ous so­cial jus­tice is­sue that needs to re­ceive more at­ten­tion from pol­i­cy­mak­ers. He said it is a mas­sive op­por­tu­nity cost man­i­fested through “kick­backs, flawed pro­cure­ment pro­cesses, the se­lec­tion and ap­point­ment of staff, and the sale of school sup­plies that should not be sold”.

He also pointed to the treat­ment of what he de­scribes as hard-tore­ach ru­ral and re­mote schools as an­other area of so­cial jus­tice deficit in cur­rent ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy.

“Sev­eral hard-to-reach schools lack ad­e­quate teach­ers, re­sources, and ma­te­rial and en­gage in a process of “sat­is­fy­ing” in or­der to de­liver an ed­u­ca­tion to pupils. Nev­er­the­less, the pol­icy con­text, al­though recog­nis­ing the enor­mous bur­dens in­volved for those who work in hard-to-reach schools, there is lim­ited ev­i­dence that schools are ac­corded a ‘spe­cial sta­tus’, which would see them at­tract­ing more fund­ing and bet­ter fa­cil­i­ties. Sim­i­larly, schools in vi­o­lence-prone com­mu­ni­ties could ben­e­fit from hav­ing a ‘spe­cial sta­tus’, and with this comes more fund­ing, bet­ter se­cu­rity, teach­ers are given life in­sur­ance poli­cies, hous­ing vouch­ers, etc,” he said.

GEN­DER IN ED­U­CA­TION

The for­mer pro­fes­sor of ed­u­ca­tional lead­er­ship and man­age­ment at the Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy fur­ther ar­gues that dis­cus­sions about the role of gen­der in ed­u­ca­tion are still rel­e­vant to ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy as an item of so­cial jus­tice.

“Re­gard­ing the is­sue of gen­der, al­though women dom­i­nate most ed­u­ca­tional sys­tems, there ap­pears an ac­cep­tance, al­most, among some ed­u­ca­tional pol­i­cy­mak­ers that this is the way it is, rather than the de­vel­op­ment of tar­geted in­ter­ven­tions aimed at at­tract­ing males to the class­room, in par­tic­u­lar, to pri­mary teach­ing and lead­er­ship roles,” he added.

The IEAL-J will next year host the In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on Ed­u­ca­tional Lead­er­ship and Man­age­ment, which will ex­plore is­sues of so­cial jus­tice in ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy.

Miller noted that the is­sues of so­cial jus­tice in ed­u­ca­tion were im­por­tant be­cause of their im­pact on ed­u­ca­tional out­comes.

“So­cial jus­tice prin­ci­ples should be the seed and flower upon which na­tional de­vel­op­ment is built. In­creas­ingly, how­ever, ed­u­ca­tion is be­ing seen as more rel­e­vant to na­tional eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and less im­por­tant to na­tional so­cial trans­for­ma­tion,” he said.

GLAD­STONE TAY­LOR/ PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

The at­mos­phere at the Courts store in Port­more was preg­nant with mer­ri­ment, the re­sult of the tree-light­ing event tak­ing place there last Fri­day. Pos­ing with Santa are (from left) Krechet Greaves, Jen­nifer An­der­son, and Stephanie Brown.

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