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Education (Amdt.) (No. 2) Bill

Tuesday, May 02, 2000

If I look at Part III, “Duties and Powers of the Board”, the board has the responsibility here to manage the school, and I would have thought that the principal should do that with the assistance of the board. In other words, if the proposal was to put into the hands of the principal a small team that will work with the principal to advise, support and assist in community relations, et cetera, and, as suggested by one of the earlier speakers, the additional resource of the secretary and the equipment be put in the principal’s office to reinforce and make the principal’s functions more effective, then I would be much happier.

So, let me take one other of the functions, (p), which states: “by making recommendations for the better performance of the school…”

Now, I would take it that the performance of the school we would measure in terms of the quality of the children in the school measured by their discipline, their behaviour, their academic attainment and all-round ability. But then, that, to me, is clearly the role of the principal and the teachers.

So, in summary, Mr. President, while I am in general sympathy with the proposal to involve, by way of a board, an advisory committee or the bringing in of a number of lay persons, that is, not teachers, some community persons, to work along with the principal, the proposal here I think is likely to cause confusion. With those remarks, I trust that we could make some amendments that would be more appropriate. I thank you, Sir. [Desk thumping]

Sen. Prof. John Spence: Mr. President, I think I agree with Sen. Prof. Ramchand that, really, if one is to address this question comprehensively one would need to look at the whole system of education, but certainly that is not what I intend to do because my comments would not be comprehensive but would be brief and address certain particular points in the Bill and in the regulations. It seems to me that the major change from the management committees that were envisaged in the original Act is that, instead of public servants there would be certain persons largely drawn from the community in which the school sits.

Now, the first point that I would make about this is that there are some government schools which cannot really be referred to as serving a particular community. Indeed, when one considers that there is no zoning of schools, one might indeed ask the question whether any schools, any government schools, can be properly identified as serving the community. I suppose that in many rural areas the majority of pupils in a particular school would come from the adjacent geographic region. I refer especially to Queen’s Royal College. I think it is certainly clear that in that school the catchment area, so to speak, is not the

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