NCEL begins training of bursars

Saturday, November 28, 2015

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THE National College for Educational Leadership (NCEL), in a bid to improve financial management in the country's schools, has initiated a training programme targeting bursars, assistant bursars, clerical assistants and primary-level educators who manage school finances.

The School Financial Management and Administrative Training programme (SFMATP) was launched recently at a three-day training workshop in Kingston. The programme was designed to ensure the strategic management of school finances and compliance with the administrative procedures of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance and Planning.

So far, 87 officers from schools across the island have participated in the inaugural capacity-building initiative which was designed to build competencies in budgeting, fiscal accounting, and maintenance of quality financial records, all of which are hallmarks of excellent schools and excellent school leadership.

"Given that leadership is plural, it is critical that the competencies of financial management in the schools be not only the purview of principals, but also that of their financial team/staff," Director of Programmes at the National College, Dr Taneisha Ingleton said.

A key feature of the (SFMATP) is the exhaustive and practical preparation that participants receive in systematic planning, cash management, auditing and budgeting. The training would also focus on administrative, human resource management, office management, records management, procurement and the Financial Administrative and Audit Act.

Participants will also be exposed to best practices that would ensure better management and allocation of school funds. Dr Ingleton also noted that upon completion of the programme, the financial teams in schools will develop the financial management techniques needed to ensure maximum compliance with regulations.

The NCEL executive also explained that the programme which comprises two rounds will expose individuals to areas such as: Leadership and Supervisory Management, Government Accounting, Budget Preparation and Administration, General Accounting, Payroll, and Procurement. Contracts, Inventory Management, Professional Ethics, Projects and Property Management, and Investment are some of the other modules that are included in the course.

Assistant Bursar at the Newell High School in St Elizabeth, Stacy-Ann Allen Holland has commended the NCEL for the implementation of what she describes as a very innovative programme. "I think it will help us, bursars and assistant bursars alike, to be more proficient in the management of the schools' resources," Allen Holland said, while adding that the training programme was very effective and was a great refresher that would help her to fulfil the dedicated functions. She also pointed out that the modules in the course were very relevant, practical, informative and engaging.

Allen Holland also noted that the sessions were so designed that participants could share their experiences through discussions on examples of what is already being used in the system and mechanisms that can be introduced to effect significant improvements. "I will readily recommend
all members of financial/accounting teams in schools to register for the next training session being organised by the National College for Educational Leadership," Allen Holland said and added that she has already begun promotions in the Ministry of Education's Region Five.

Training for the second cohort of personnel will begin in February 2016.

The NCEL has, since its inception, been engaged in developing and implementing programmes in Jamaica and other countries in the Caribbean. Some of its programme offerings include the Effective Principals' Training Programme, the Aspiring Principals' Programme, Leadership of Math, Leadership of Place and the University and College Leaders Training Programme.

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