Thu | Feb 2, 2023

Reallocate NHT funds to education – McBean

Published:Wednesday | April 13, 2022 | 12:06 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
David McBean, executive director, Mona School of Business.
David McBean, executive director, Mona School of Business.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of the Mona School of Business and Management, Dr David McBean, has recommended that a portion of the National Housing Trust’s funds be reallocated to the education sector.

He reasoned that increased resources should also be complemented with better management by the education ministry.

“It is impossible to build houses for everybody in Jamaica but if I give you the capacity to earn to build your own house, that is a much better investment. I would like to see even half the housing trust funds go to critical areas – health, security, justice and education,” he said.

McBean was speaking at last Thursday’s centennial Glen Owen Memorial Lecture, held at The Mico University College, under the theme, ‘The need for targeted developments in education for national and regional resilience in post-pandemic times’.

The late Owen was principal of Mico for the period 1959 to 1972 and founded the Mico Evening College.

McBean, who holds a PhD in engineering science, said students are performing poorly in mathematics and english due to a wide range of issues, which include a lack of excellent teachers in the classroom.

He said working conditions and remuneration are among the reasons teaching has lost its prestige, but that must be restored if Jamaica is to properly prepare students for the future.

Citing a recent World Bank report, McBean said Jamaica spends sufficiently on education but student outcomes are poor.

“We need to interrogate the efficiency and effectiveness of our spending. Some students start high school and end up with lower levels of numeracy and literacy by the time they leave fifth form. We have to address that. Those are wasted resources. We do very well with access to education but the outcomes are low. We are only getting 53 per cent of what should be given, in terms of a full education by the end of high school,” he said.

BETTER TRAINED TEACHERS

He said teachers must be better trained, compensated and be held accountable for the results of students under their tutelage.

As Jamaica attempts to recover from the COVID-19 learning loss, McBean urged stakeholders not to underestimate the resilience of students, teachers and administrators.

He said the gap must be acknowledged, a plan must be prepared and then be executed.

“We have fallen in love with commissions and task forces who all say the same thing but we never implement, so we are caught in this cycle of analysis paralysis,” McBean said.

judana.murphy@gleanerjm.com