Politics, religion and social connections: pillars for progression among primary teachers in Jamaica

Paul Miller

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Perceptions about teacher progression among Jamaica's primary schoolteachers should force society to stop and ask itself several questions. Are these perceptions accurate? If not, how did these perceptions emerge and what can national leaders and those in positions of authority do to manage if not resolve these perceptions? If there is any truth to them, a different set of questions need to be asked. How did things come to be like this? How can the perception of corruption and mistrust be minimised? What will be done differently going forward? Either way, there is a more fundamental question: Do the current perceptions among teachers mirror perceptions in other areas of public service? The answers to these questions are not easy. The main aim of this small-scale qualitative exploratory study was to identify and understand the perceptions of primary schoolteachers in Jamaica as regards progression to the rank of principal. The findings point to a number of perceived barriers including religious affiliation, political affiliation, ministry- and school-level politicking, social connections and predetermined outcomes. This study concludes that promotion on any basis other than merit is problematic and does not promote trust, openness and transparency, nor does it build confidence in those who are part of the system but themselves do not have such connections and/or affiliations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-250
Number of pages14
JournalSchool Leadership and Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes


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