Corruption as Redemption? Affiliation as a mark for leadership progression among primary school teachers in Jamaica

Paul Miller


Perceptions among Jamaica’s primary schools teachers about their progression should force the education ministry to consider the integrity and transparency of current recruitment, promotions and appointment processes. Are teachers’ perceptions of discrimination, cronyism and favouritism accurate? How did these perceptions come about and what can national leaders and those in positions of authority do to ‘manage’ if not resolve these perceptions? Either way, there is a more fundamental question: Do teachers have to be tainted by the brush of corruption in order to progress in their careers? The answers to these questions are not easy, but one hopes that a teacher can progress to an available position on the basis of merit manifested in terms of appropriate skills, experience and qualifications. The aim of the small scale qualitative exploratory study from which this paper is derived was to identify and understand the perceptions of primary school teachers in Jamaica as regards their progression to the rank of Vice Principal and Principal.  The findings identify four marks of affiliation, believed to severely disadvantage those teachers without at least one of these in their quest for a leadership appointment. These are:  religious affiliation, political affiliation, regional education ministry and school level interference and social connections.

Key words: Jamaica, corruption, principal, primary, school, leadership

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