Education Ministry Drafts Code of Conduct for Politically Active Educators

The Education Ministry is creating a political code of conduct for educators amid concerns of activism on the part of teachers and members of school boards.

The concept document of the proposed code has been obtained by Nationwide News. The proposed code states that while civil servants, police personnel and members of the JDF are barred from active politics the same is not true of other categories of public officers including teachers. It says the Education Act and Regulations are silent on the matter. It proposes that a teacher or principal who seeks to become politically active must notify the school board.

Time off for political activities will also be subject to rules governing normal leave and casual leave. The proposed code of conduct also advances that no teacher or principal will be allowed to use sensitive information from their school or the education sector to launch a personal attack on another educator. The code also says teachers and educators must refrain from any personal attack on opponents on any media platform.

Teachers and educators who are politically active will also not be allowed to criticize the programmes and policies of the Education Ministry unless it is in the context of a meeting of the teachers’ union or any other non-political forum. It’s also being proposed that restrictions be placed on the political activities of school board members.

According to the draft code, a school board member will not be allowed to criticize the Minister of Education or any Ministry of Education personnel in any public forum. A board Chairman will also be required to resign if there is a principal in a named political office at the same school and said chairman is a fellow member of the political organization or an opposite organization.

The draft code comes after Education Minister Ruel Reid, raised concerns about the alleged political activities of certain educators with Political Ombudsman Donna Parchment Brown. Nationwide news understands this includes the Principal of Padmore Primary, Keisha Hayle, who ran and lost against Finance Minister, Dr. Nigel Clarke to represent the North West St. Andrew Constituency. She remains the PNP’s caretaker for the Constituency. It’s understood that the Chairman of Padmore at the time was Former Permanent Secretary in the Education Ministry, Elaine Foster Allen. Mrs. Foster Allen is also Chairman of the PNP’s Education Commission.

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