The Union of Jamaican Alumni Associations (USA) Inc. (UJAA) continues their commitment to education in Jamaica through their umbrella organization of 45 alumni association members. From July 28th through the 30th, UJAA hosts the National Education Inspectorate (NEI) at the Adria Hotel and Conference Center in Queens, New York.
Introduced in 2008, the Inspectorate is the national education quality assurance agency, operating independently of the Ministry of Education. It embraces transparency, integrity, honesty and accountability as the hallmarks and guiding principles of its operations, which it seeks to inculcate in the education system.
Convinced that no other group related to a school community has the passion, conviction, means and wherewithal to make a difference, the leadership of the Union has invited the Inspectorate to share respective reports with alumni organizations who are more readily available to accept the opportunities to provide specific and sustainable assistance in areas of need and weakness as expressed in the NEI’s reports.
“The engaging of alumni associations in the Diaspora with the Inspectorate just makes good sense” thinks UJAA President Lesleyann Samuel. “It is my hope that this introduction of both groups will effect change in the rebuilding of our island nation and produce a process of positive change for Jamaica.”
The NEI was established as a result of one of the recommendations of the Task Force on Education Reform which stipulated that a National Quality Assurance Agency be introduced. Empowered by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information under Section 39 of the Education Regulations of Jamaica, inspection of schools are mandated at any time necessary.
The team of 3 will spend 3 full days here in the New York area this month. On Thursday evening UJAA hosts a community reception to introduce the team to the Diaspora. Included will be some of our Caribbean neighbors in the New York tri-state area.
Arrangements have been made to introduce the team to NY Department of Education leaders to share topics of mutual interest for benefit of both groups. This gathering will take place on the Friday of the team’s visit.
Saturday is the highlight of the visit as it will be spent in one on one discussions with the alumni association members. Alumni representatives will have the opportunity to review their respective schools’ latest reports.
UJAA continues to be the standard bearer here in the northeast USA for the Jamaica Diaspora Education Task Force. Their mission is aligned with the advancement in education commitment of the Task Force. This coming initiative will allow for so many other Diaspora organizations within the framework of UJAA to play a direct and sustainable role in transforming education across Jamaica.
The consensus expressed by member alumni associations is their appreciation and support of this visit. They see it as an engaging opportunity to align their support more directly with their school where it will make a difference.