Jamaica embarked on modernisation of its school inspection system to improve teaching standards at nearly 1000 schools and deliver better educational outcomes. The newly constituted National Education Inspectorate (NEI) had developed a national inspection
process but lacked the expertise to use it to best advantage. Our education consultants drew on their technical skills and their knowledge of inspection regimes in the UK and USA to design a fully bespoke system, which will be fully operational by the start of the next school year.
We developed a software portal for the NEI to schedule inspections, capture data in the field, and create and share reports. It enables inspectors to be matched to schools based on experience, geography, performance and availability. Inspectors use laptops/tablets to complete their inspections via Wi-Fi in the field or back at their hotel or home. Results are uploaded to the hub and quality assured online; management reports are automatically generated or can be created to target specific interest areas. The solution is also sustainable: we provided local staff to train the Ministry’s IT team to handle all system maintenance tasks and upgrades.
Our system is delivering significant cost and time efficiencies in scheduling, report production and quality assurance, increased visibility of the inspection process, and greater accountability of inspectors and the NEI. Managers are able to make quicker, better informed decisions based on ‘live’ information. The ultimate benefits are more and higher quality inspections to support school improvement plans, and faster identification of issues at school and district levels, reducing the impact of poor teaching. Jamaica is a beacon of best practice in the region and it is hoped these best practices will be shared with neighbouring governments across the Caribbean.