Owen Speid, JTA President 2019-2020

JTA On Collision Course With Ministry Over Appointment Of Principals

Publication Date: 
Friday, September 6, 2019

Owen Speid, the president of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA), is accusing the Ministry of Education (MOE) of acting in breach of its Code of Regulation in the appointment of principals.

In an interview with The Gleaner yesterday, Speid accused the ministry of bypassing teachers who do not have a certificate from the National College of Educational Leadership (NCEL) for principal positions.

“The ministry is refusing to appoint teachers to the post of principal because the candidate does not have a certificate from the National College of Educational Leadership. Nowhere in The code does it state that in order to qualify to be appointed as principal, one must have an NCEL certificate. The JTA is going to ensure that this breach does not continue,” said Speid.

He made it clear that he was not a fan of the way the NCEL operates as it is without a board to oversee its operations.

“It is operating on a $40 million-per-year budget without a board,” Speid said.

“The certificate they give is not accredited. They have instructors who are less qualified than the students they teach,” he added. ”How can you have an instructor with just a bachelor’s [degree] lecturing to a person who has graduated from The University of The West Indies with a master’s in educational leadership? This cannot be right.”

Declaring himself as a man who will be unwavering in his commitment to defending the rights of teachers, the newly installed JTA head said that he is ready to take on the MOE to ensure that his charges are fairly treated.

“You have a teacher who has been acting as principal since 2013. The board recommends this person for a permanent appointment, and the ministry is refusing to agree because the candidate does not have a certificate from an institution which is not accredited and is forcing good candidates to attend classes to be lectured by retired education officers,” said Speid.

According to Speid, those teachers who act as principal do so at a disadvantage as they don’t get the benefits they should by virtue of the office they hold.

“They lose benefits which principals are entitled to. Among those benefits is motor vehicle concession. They cannot get the benefits although they do the work in a satisfactory manner,” said Speid.

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