The National College for Educational Leadership (NCEL) is now accepting applications for its Virtual Instructional Leadership (VIL) online course that will be launched within weeks.
Since opening the application process on Monday, May 11, the college has received in excess of 1,200 applications from educators across all six administrative regions, and the number continues to increase exponentially each day.
Given the impact of the COVID-19 virus, the Government has taken a decision to suspend classes in the physical learning environment and has encouraged the use of distance learning platforms to keep students engaged throughout the period. In order to equip school leaders with the skills and competencies to effectively manage their schools remotely, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, through NCEL, and in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund, has developed the VIL online course to support principals’ management and supervision of teachers using e-learning platforms.
According to Dr Taneisha Ingleton, director/principal of NCEL and VIL ideator, the course forms part of the college’s commitment to implement strategic initiatives to transform the educational leadership landscape in Jamaica and to enhance the leadership competencies of school principals before, during, and after crises.
Given that educators are now required to lead from a distance, Ingleton stated that the course provides a strong foundation for leading, through technology and explores distance learning, design and delivery. She said that “the nature of the course allows for scalability and reusability”.
Its many features provide for individualistic learning methods, as it includes local videos, animations, e-readings, and its attendant audio versions, reflections, summaries and, practical and valuable instruments that support instructional supervision, management and sustainability of the school’s e-infrastructure. She said that the course is sustainable as it can be accessed from a single point and be updated as policies, expectations and technology demand.
The course specifically targets principals and vice-principals of all public, private and independent early childhood, primary and secondary schools. Participants will be trained in cohorts of 50 with five cohorts running concurrently. Therefore, a total of 250 principals will be trained in each round which will be delivered every three weeks until all participants are trained.
Director of Programmes/VIL Technical Lead and Creative Designer Dr Cheryl McLaughlin noted that the course is contextually relevant, and that its development solidifies the college’s thrust to support and promote continuous engagement and professional development of the island’s school principals. Continuing, she said the VIL is a highly interactive online course that is offered through the NCEL’s Learning Management System, Ignito.
The college has been diversifying its learning modalities since 2016 in a bid to ensure its compliance with the requirements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and to respond to the needs of its learners. With this course, principals are not required to leave the comfort of their homes, especially during the restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic, but that they can utilise their desired technological device (phone, laptop or tablet) and still be engaged. The course is self-paced, asynchronous, and learner-centred, and it is completely free of cost to all participants.
All principals and vice-principals in all school levels across the system are encouraged to express their interest to participate in the VIL course by submitting applications via the college’s website (ncel.gov.jm) no later than Thursday, May 28, 2020.
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