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The role of the Board of Management

1/20/2012

From the Education Act, CAP 41, Part 11, Division 2: “Management of Primary, Composite and Senior Schools”
12. All schools to which this division applies are under the control and management of the minister.
13. For the purposes of this division, the minister may appoint committees etc.

Division 3:
16. For the purposes of this division, the minister may by order establish Boards of Management for the management of public secondary schools.

This order was carried out in 1983 when all the secondary schools which had been under Governing Bodies were brought under Boards of Management. But the Government did not give the employees (principals and teachers) the choice of severance before imposing the new employer. Thus came the confrontation with the principal of the Lodge School and the eventual MOU with the near 1 500 teachers, inserted in the Education Act at Section 65 (1) where teachers who, immediately before January 1, 1983 were employed by the Governing Bodies, become public servants they shall continue to be employed on terms and conditions that are as favourable or no less favourable than those on which they were employed before May 31, 1983.

And so, the Boards of Management became the employers of principals and teachers of public secondary schools. And as of today, that order or law has not changed.

Further, Division 3, section 17 declares : For the purposes of this Act, a Board of Management established pursuant to section 16 is a body corporate…..

Therefore, every matter of concern by a principal, teacher, union, PTA, etc. should be first addressed to or channeled through the Board of Management, not the Ministry, Personnel Administration or any other department. Side-stepping, by-passing or leap-frogging over the Board shows ignorance of, or disregard or disrespect for its role. Developments to such actions could even construed as illegal.

As a body corporate, a Board of Management is like a company. The principal is like the CEO of the company and should always be accountable to the Board. The Board will be the entity to be legally called to account, not the principal, not the Ministry etc. In such a case, the Board will be represented by the Minister and ultimately the Crown.

Since a Board of Management at Section 17(e) may make recommendations to the Minister with regard to any matter directly or indirectly affecting any school or the development of secondary education generally, it should be the urgent task of any functioning Board of Management to make its recommendation to the minister if any situation demands it; or, it would be the minister’s duty to call on the Board to make recommendations which he can consider.

Now, if all parties have breached the communication chain of command and remain inflexible in their respective positions, there may be a need for a recommendation from the Board, through the minister, to the shareholder, the Crown, represented by the Attorney General, to file an injunction in the court to have a cessation of talks etc. and a return to normal service, where old complaints may resume, if necessary, and future ones considered, following due procedure; that is, starting with and going through the Board of Management.

Finally, for the smooth management and running of all public secondary schools, the protocols set out in the Education Act must be known and followed by all stakeholders in the quest for educational excellence in this nation.

Anthony Walrond

Retired teacher of Harrison College (1964–1998), former member of BSTU, member of CTUSAB, former Board Member of the St. Michael School (2000–2008), former Chairman of the Board of management of Harrison College (2009–2011)

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