Science Teacher at Excelsior High School
After graduating from the University College of the West Indies (UCWI) in 1961, Miller obtained a post at Excelsior High School as a Science Teacher where he taught General Science, Biology, Botany, and Zoology. During his five-year tenure at Excelsior, he became Head of the Science Department and also Head of the Lower School, that is, Forms 1 to 3. He coached the School’s Colts and Sunlight Cup cricket teams. The latter team won the Sunlight Cup in 1963. He also coached the School’s Colts football team. He was also the sponsor of the Inter-Schools Christian Fellowship group at the School. In 1963-64, he was granted study leave to read for the Post-Graduate Diploma in Education of the University of the West Indies.
Lecturer in Science Education, Department of Education, University of the West Indies
In September 1966, Miller was appointed Lecturer in Science Education in the Department of Education of the University of the West Indies. He taught the Science Courses in the Diploma of Education, Bachelor of Education and the Certificate of Education Programs as well as supervised the Practicum for students specializing in Science in the Diploma of Education Program. Beginning in 1970, Miller pioneered the establishment of the Master of Arts in Science Education Program and supervised the first students to be awarded this degree. This laid the foundation for the Ph. D in Science Education of the University of the West Indies.
During his six-year tenure in the Department of Education, Miller joined his mentor, Professor Aubrey Phillips, in conducting research in Social Psychology of Education in Jamaica.
In 1972, he received tenure and accelerated promotion. However, he resigned from the University of the West Indies to take up the post of Principal of Mico Teachers College in September of that year.
Principal of Mico Teachers College
From the first year of being appointed Principal, Miller played on the cricket team of the College in the Evelyn Cup Competition. In one year, he scored the only century of the Competition. He also won the bowling and batting averages of the Competition in separate years. Representing the College at cricket, on merit, significantly enhanced his standing and relationship with the student body.
The understanding with the Board of the Mico College was, that as principal, he would lead the institution in a process of change. Miller undertook to serve the college for at least five years.
During his eight and a half year tenure at The Mico College, the following was accomplished:
- The Semester System was introduced and implemented.
- The curriculum of the College was reformed to ensure that all students regardless of their area of specialization would do at least one 45-hour course in each of three areas: ethics/philosophy/religion; appreciation of beauty in art, drama or music; and acquisition of skill in cooking, carpentry, fixing small appliances or metal work; and take a 15-hour etiquette course culminating in attendance at a number of formal dinners.
- The programme for training secondary school teachers was reorganized to include education and training of teachers to teach from Forms 1 to 5, Grades 7 to 11, in two subject areas. Previously secondary teacher trainees were educated and trained to teach Forms 1 to 3, Grades 7 to 9.
- Accelerated programmes were designed and delivered to students admitted with GCE Advanced Level and Bachelor’s degrees. Further, students entering the College with more than 7 years teaching experience were exempt from the Internship Year, which was then part of the teacher training programme
- With assistance from the Government of the Netherlands, instituted the programme to train teachers for Special Education.
- With funding from the Government of the Netherlands, designed and constructed a diagnostic and therapeutic centre, named the Child Assessment and Research in Education (CARE) Centre, to diagnose learning difficulties of multiple disabled students and to design and develop instruction to address their learning needs. This Centre also provided clinical support to the Special Education Teacher Training Programme
- With funding from the Government of the Netherlands, offered ten scholarships per year to students from other Commonwealth Caribbean countries to be trained as teachers of Special Education.
- Improved the pass rate in Joint Board of Teacher Education English Language Examinations for final year students from just over 50 percent to over 98 percent. This was the result of a specially designed programme. Further, students entering the College with high levels of competence in the English Language sat the English Language Examination for Final Year students in the first week in College and thereafter did a special programme in Language Arts which trained them in Module Writing, Writing materials for specific age groups and in Creative Writing.
- Improved the functional literacy rate at the end of Grade Six in 13 primary and all age schools to better than 90 percent of Grade Six Students. This was the result of a specially designed outreach programme in reading and behavior management that was implemented in 15 urban and rural primary and all age schools in which the College placed Interns. The programme involved training in the teaching of reading, training in behavior management especially of boys, a mobile library, a systematic testing regime, detail record keeping and two-weekly visits by two College Lecturers who assisted and supported teachers with implementation of the programme in the schools.
- College lecturers were encouraged and supported to write books in Language Arts and Education Foundations for teachers, which became widely used in Teacher Education, including at the UWI. This was the result of a deal made with the Canadian International Development Agency, (CIDA), where in exchange for the cessation of assistance, which provided the College with two Canadian experts in Industrial Arts every two years, the Agency would give the college the salary equivalent as a golden handshake. These funds were then used to employ the equivalent of twelve temporary Jamaican Lecturers, who took over the teaching responsibilities of highly experienced lecturers for one or two Semesters. These Lecturers then signed contracts with the College that in exchange for being relieved of teaching duties they would write books and produce materials in areas in which there were no appropriate Caribbean books or materials.
- Expanded the Evening College from less than 300 students to over 1500 students. The Evening College operated between 4.00 and 8.00 pm. It offered GCE ‘O’ and ‘A’ level tuition, the primary teacher training programme on a part-time basis, and courses in personal development as demanded by particular groups and individuals. The Evening College operated on a self-financing basis.
- A Gymnasium was constructed, financed totally by the College, which became the focal point of an expanded physical education and sports programme for students of the College.
- A Cafeteria was constructed which had the capacity to feed 1000 persons per hour. Staff of all categories, including the Principal, and students ate in the Cafeteria on a first-come first-serve basis. There were no reserved sections.
- A 300-bed hall to house female students was constructed in 1976. This hall consisted of 25 units that could accommodate 12 students each. Each Unit consisted of six bedrooms, dining and living rooms, bathrooms and laundry facilities. Solar heating provided hot water. Within the Unit, students had control of all decision making with respect to diet, time of eating, sleeping and studying. The hall operated on an accounting system designed by Price Waterhouse which allowed them the freedom to purchase groceries within budgetary limits. The leadership arrangement was of such that over a two year period all 12 students would have served in a leadership capacity. The hall became the standard for student accommodation across the country.
- A cultural programme was instituted that encouraged the entire College Community, by way of subsidy, to attend plays, concerts, exhibitions and seasons of dance. Directors, playwrights, leading actors, artists, musicians and choreographers, related to particular productions and events, were then invited to the College to engage in discussion of their work with students.
- The Mico Foundation was established as a limited liability company, not for profit. The Foundation consolidated entrepreneurial ventures that had been created including the renting of College facilities especially of the 520-bed boarding accommodation facilities during vacation periods, the catering services operated by the Cafeteria, the Evening College, and revenue generated from financial management. Income generated from these entrepreneurial activities permitted the purchase of several parcels of land, the establishment of loan schemes and welfare programmes for staff, expanded assistance to students, and financing for the construction of buildings such as the gym, the cafeteria, the staff room for the Language Arts and Education Departments and classrooms.
Professor of Teacher Education, School of Education, UWI Mona
On January 1, 1981 Miller was appointed to the newly created chair of Professor of Teacher Education in the School of Education, UWI. During his tenure at UWI which ended on September 30, 2006 the major involvements of Miller can be listed as follows:
- Chairman of the Joint Board of Teacher Education, JBTE, for a total of 18 years. The JBTE, Mona is responsible for quality assurance and teacher certification in Western Caribbean. Accomplishments of the Board during Miller’s tenure included:
- the establishment of common standards for teacher certification, while allowing for differences in curricula consistent with differences in national curricula in primary and secondary education in the several countries.
- The implementation of the semester system in all colleges training teachers in the Western Caribbean.
- The application of information and communication technology to the work of the Board thus allowing for higher quality of the external examinations and reduction in unit costs.
- Formalizing the delivery of developmental assistance to colleges in the areas of institutional, curriculum, material and staff development and the establishment of internal quality assurance systems within each college.
- Making the transition from total dependence on government and UWI funding for developmental assistance to project and self-financing activities, first through JBTE Enterprises and the later through the JBTE Foundation.
- Establishing a wireless broadband intranet linking colleges training teachers in Jamaica capable of videoconferencing, voice over IP, IPTV, video streaming etc. and with Internet connections to other colleges and universities in the Caribbean.
- Director of numerous projects that were delivered on-time and within budget. Three examples of such projects are the following:
- The JBTE/UNDP Primary Mathematics Teacher Training Project which assisted primary education teacher trainees who had failed to be certified because they had not met the JBTE standards in Mathematics. It achieved a pass rate of 94 per cent from among teacher trainees that had all previously failed to meet the standards. This project was cited by UNDP as one of its exemplary projects worldwide.
- The Teacher Training Component of the World Bank/Government of Jamaica Reform of Secondary Education Project which trained over 5000 secondary school teachers in five subjects with respect to new curricula being introduced in Grades 7 to 9. This project was one of two that received the World Bank’s quality award for project implementation in 1998. The Caribbean Centre of Excellence for Teacher Training,
- CETT, a President George Bush, USAID funded, Summit of the Americas Project established to teach children to read by the end of Grade 3 principally by promoting excellence in the teaching of reading by primary school teachers. Initially implemented in five Commonwealth Caribbean countries, based on its outstanding success it has been endorsed by Ministers of Education and extended to 13 Commonwealth Caribbean countries, including funding by the countries themselves.
- Led the process and task, in 2000, to establish the Masters in Education Summer and On-line as a self-financing operation within the Faculty of Arts and Education. The Tertiary Level Institution Unit (TLIU) at the Cave Hill, Campus had determined that there was market in the Commonwealth Caribbean for the training of educational administrators and teacher educators who could not attend full-time or part-time face-to-face programs. The TLIU had also determined that the Institute of Education, Mona was in the best position to take up this challenge since Professors Hyacinth Evans and Errol Miller had started to teach their courses in Teacher Education on-line. The TLIU approached Miller as Director of the Institute to take up the challenge. He commissioned a feasibility study; sought and received permission from the Board of Graduates Studies to offer this program; led a team in curriculum development exercise and obtained approval of the courses; engaged Professor Linda Harasim of Simon Fraser University, Canada to train Lecturers to teach on-line; and guided the process of advertising and recruiting suitably qualified students. The M. Ed Summer and On-line pioneered offering Masters Programs using the on-line as it major modality at UWI.
- Served the University Mona Campus community in several capacities. This included:
- being a Head of Department for a total of 12 years;
- being a member of the Mona Campus Council;
- being responsible for academic computing for the Mona campus which involved applying information and communications technology to teaching and research;
- being responsible for student assessment of lecturers when the focus was on using these assessments to improve instruction; and
- serving on various appeals panels across the university.
- Produced a large volume of peer reviewed publications. Following his appointment as Professor in January 1981 through to August 2006, Miller
- authored 13 books and Monographs,
- edited 4 books,
- authored 31 chapters of books,
- 23 articles in referred journals,
- 5 papers in referred Conference Proceedings and
- 30 major consultancy reports for various international and regional development agencies.
- retired from the University of the West Indies in 2006 and was made Professor Emeritus of the School of Education, Mona in 2007.
Service to the Jamaica Teachers Association
Miller was a founding member of the JTA in 1964. This was simply because he worked at Excelsior High School and the Principal, the Hon. Wesley Powell encouraged all teachers at the school to join the Association at its founding. In 1979 Miller was among those who founded the Jamaica Association of Teacher Educators (JATE) which became an affiliate of JTA. Miller was elected as the first President of JATE. In 1980 Miller led a successful strike of principals of Teachers College protesting the matter of parity of pay for teachers trained by teachers colleges. Principals striking meant that the colleges did not function but only their pay was affected and not that of the staffs of colleges.
Miller was elected and served in the presidency of the JTA. He was President of the JTA for the academic year 1986/87. Starting in 1984 the Ministry of Education and JTA became locked in a bitter and acrimonious struggle. At the root of the disagreement was the structural adjustment programme imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which had implications for public sector salaries; and conditions imposed by the World Bank, which led the Ministry to the closure of one teachers college; the closure of the teacher education Department at a community college; and the closure of eight small schools in rural areas.
The President of JTA is elected by a plebiscite of all members of the Association. Miller was prevailed upon to lead the Association and when he accepted the nomination by several Parish Associations, all other candidates withdrew. This made him the first president of the JTA to be elected unopposed. Not having to campaign for the presidency Miller still held town-hall meetings and attended Parish and District Association meetings across the country where his question posed to teachers was, “How do you want me to represent you?” During his year as President,
- the salary dispute was settled;
- the teachers’ college was re-opened;
- the eight small schools that were closed were re-opened;
- the Association assisted the Ministry in the formulation of the policy to integrate all types of secondary schools into a single system of secondary education;
- he supported the Ministry in a scandal related to cheating in the Common Entrance Examinations;
- restructured the Secretariat of the Association;
- established Regional Offices;
- raised paid membership of the Association from 70 to over 90 per cent thus resolving several financial problems of the Association;
- resolved a major problem within the Jamaica Teachers Credit Union through discussions with the Jamaica Credit Union League;
- participated in the creation of Teachers Day as a part of Education Week, celebrated in May of each year.
As Past President of the JTA Miller was elected Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Association in 1987. He was also appointed head of the Association’s Salary Negotiation Team. He served in both of these capacities until August 1995.
Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education
In March 1974, a twin crisis developed in the public education system. First, Prime Minister Michael Manley had announced major reform in education in May 1973, but little had been done about implementation. Second, in March 1974 over 14,000 teachers, paid directly by the Ministry of Education, had been paid incorrectly or not at all. Jamaica Teachers Association threatened to withdraw its support for the policy measures of the Government unless immediate actions were taken. It was against this background that Miller was seconded from his post as Principal of Mico College and appointed permanent secretary of the Ministry of Education in April 1, 1974. He was the first person appointed a Permanent Secretary without having previously served in the Jamaica Civil Service and the youngest person appointed a Permanent Secretary.
During his tenure as Permanent Secretary, from April 1974 to August 1975, the following were accomplished by the Ministry of Education:
- A reliable automated system for paying teachers’ salary by the Ministry of Education was implemented in April 1974.
- The policy of tuition-free public secondary and tertiary education was implemented.
- The policy of providing boarding grants for tertiary students was implemented.
- A budget system for financing public secondary schools was designed, developed and implemented at each secondary school to replace the grant-in-aid system that had operated for over 50 years.
- The policy of awarding secondary school places on straight merit, based on performance in the Common Entrance, was implemented. This replaced the policy of awarding 70 per cent of secondary school places to students of public primary school and 30 per cent of placing to students from private preparatory schools. From the inception of the straight merit policy, students from public primary schools gained more than 70 per cent of the places available in secondary schools.
- Schools providing special education were brought into the public school system.
- Junior secondary schooling was phased out as Grades 10 and 11 were added to the 66 junior secondary schools converting them into five-year secondary schools.
- The capital programme of the Ministry of Education, which had stalled as a result of a Commission or Enquiry, was revived and brought back to full operation. Projects funded by the World Bank, CIDA and USAID were separated from Government of Jamaica funded projects in order to better facilitate the monitoring, reporting and funding requirements of externally funded projects.
- A permanent Projects Division was established with overall responsibility for all projects and particular responsibility for coordinating and synchronizing the construction of new schools with the procurement of furniture, the appointment of school boards, principals and teachers of new schools.
- The Ministry of Education was reorganized. In particular, an Education Operation Division, headed by the Chief Education Officer, was created to have responsibility for school supervision and a Planning and Development Division, headed by the Chief Education Planner was created with responsibilities for such matters as planning, curriculum and material development, textbooks and educational media and guidance and counselling.
- The Ministry of Education hosted the Commonwealth Ministers of Education Conference.
Having performed the tasks related to him being seconded as Permanent Secretary, Miller returned to his post as principal of Mico College in September 1975. Miller had served as principal for nearly 18 months before going to the Ministry for another eighteen months. On return to the College Miller committed to the Board that he would serve the college for at least five years as previously agreed. In December 1980, Miller resigned as Principal of Mico and returned to the University of the West Indies with his appointment as Professor of Teacher Education.
Independent Senator in the Parliament of Jamaica
Miller served as an Independent Senator in the Jamaican Parliament for five years, 1984 to 1989. The Peoples National Party, one of the two major political parties of Jamaica, did not contest the December 1983 General Elections. All 60 seats in the House of Representatives were won by the Jamaica Labour Party, previously the Government. This created a constitutional crisis since there was no Leader of the Opposition to name eight of the twenty one Senators prescribed by the Constitution. The newly elected Prime Minister would, therefore, name all 21 Senators. After much public debate the working arrangement that emerged was for the Prime Minister to name eight Senators, not from the Jamaica Labour Party, who would be mandated to prevent changes of the Constitution during the period of one-party government. Further, these eight senators would be selected from different sectors of Jamaican society. Miller was named as the Independent Senator that would unofficially represent the education sector. The Senate of this period is widely regarded as producing the highest quality of debate on national issues. Miller was named by a leading newspaper as Senator of the Year on one occasion. He walked out of the Senate when the Government postponed Local Government Elections for the second time and did not return until the Government indicated it would call those elections in June of 1986. Both major political parties contested the General Elections of 1989 thus bringing to an end the period of one-party government during which there was no attempt to change the Constitution of Jamaica.
Chairman of the Board of the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation
The Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC) was established as a state owned statutory media house in 1959, with one radio station in the AM Band. In 1963, a Television station was added and in the 1970s, a second radio station in the FM band. Originally the JBC was modeled after the BBC with the mission to produce local programming. By the end of the 1980s, JBC, particularly its Newsroom, had developed a reputation for militancy in industrial relations and of partisan bias in favour of the ruling party in the reporting of news.
The new Government in 1989 came to agreement with the Opposition to return JBC to its original role as a State and not a Government entity. An Interim Board, under the chairmanship of Mr. Ian Ramsay was appointed to reform the Corporation. Miller was a member of the Interim Board.
Following the acceptance of the recommendations of the Interim Board, Miller was appointed chairman of the Board of the JBC in 1992. The reform Board of the JBC has four members jointly agreed by the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, including the Chairman, one representative named by the Prime Minister, one by the Leader of the Opposition, one by the staff of the Corporation, and the Director General.
Miller served as chairman between 1992 and 1998 when the JBC was privatized. During this period, normalcy in industrial relationship, balanced reporting of news and a large number of local television and radio programs were produced and aired.
Chairman of Jamaica’s Electoral Management Bodies
In December 2000, following a six-month impasse between the Government and the Opposition, concerning the appointment of Selected Members of the Electoral Advisory Committee (EAC), Miller was appointed chairman of that body. The EAC was created in 1979 to remove the electoral machinery from the control of the party in government and place it as a creature of Parliament with an independent status. Accordingly, the EAC was comprised of two members named by the Prime Minister, two named by the Leader of the Opposition and three members jointly agreed on by both, one of whom is the Chairman.
The following are some of the major accomplishments of the EAC/ECJ over the period December 2000 to December 2012, when Miller retired from the Commission:
- Representatives of recognized political parties and Returning Officers in each constituency met on a monthly basis to address matters such as applications of persons to become registered electors; arrangements to verify that applicants lived at the addresses given; the distribution of Voter ID cards; and vetting of the two draft Voters’ List published annually. This significantly reduced disputes about Voters’ Lists.
- Every two years, political representatives and returning officers engaged in the process of determining the location of polling stations in each constituency based upon criteria and guidelines set by the EAC/ECJ. This exercise ends with signed polling stations agreements for each constituency which remain in force for two years. Voting in all elections held during the two year period are conducted at these agreed polling locations.
- The periodic realignment of constituency boundaries, mandated by the Constitution, begins with guidelines issued by the Commission and applied by political representatives of major political parties in each Parish through a Forum and an Advisory Committee. Where agreement is not reached by the Parish Advisory Committee the unresolved matters are referred to the Nominated Commissioners and the Director of Elections. If agreement is not reached by the latter then the unresolved matters are referred to the Selected Commissioners for final decision. The process has eliminated gerrymandering of constituency boundaries to serve the interest on any political party.
- The Electronic Voter Identification and Ballot Issuing System, EVIBIS, which were invented and patented prior to 2000 by Mr. Ryan Peralto, have been implemented on a phased basis in elections beginning in 2003. This system ensures one person, one voter; same person, same vote. To be registered as electors applicants are fingerprinted, photographed and provide biographical information. On Election Day, in designated polling stations, electors are identified by electronically by fingerprint using the EVIBIS system and issued the ballot by that system. Jamaica is the first country to implement this system.
- Between Nomination Day and Election Day an Election Centre is established comprised of representatives from the major political parties, the security forces, local and international observers, the churches, the Political Ombudsman and the Director of Elections. The Election Centre constitutes the official space where stakeholders and actors can coordinate activities, share information, engage in conflict resolution and issue authentic information to the press and media through regular press conferences.
- Three General Elections, three Local Government elections and numerous By-elections have been held which have all been accepted as free and fair. Indeed, the Carter Centre and the Commonwealth Secretariat declined to send international observers for the September 3, 2007 and the December 29, 2011 General Elections on grounds that their resources would be better used for elections in countries that are not following best practices in the conduct of elections. It is generally acknowledged that the General Elections of December 2011 and Local Government Elections of March 2012 have been the most peaceful and best conducted up to that time.
Chancellor of Mico University College
In 2008 the Government of Jamaica upgraded The Mico to being a University College. As a Trust Institution it was the responsibility of the Lady Mico Trust to name the Chancellor. In October 2008 Miller was named the first Chancellor of the Mico University College. He served in this capacity for seven years and retired in October 2015.
After demitting office as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Miller’s services and involvement were sought by several international bodies and groups. Since then his international involvements have included the following:
- Consultancy services related to feasibility studies, project design, project monitoring and project evaluation. Agencies that have contracted his services include Canadian International Development Agency, Caribbean Development Bank, European Union, Inter-American Development Bank, International Development Research Centre, UNESCO, United Nations Development Programme, and USAID.
- Being the Caribbean member of the Research Review and Advisory Group established in 1977 by International Development Research Centre in 1977 to assess the status of education research in developing countries. This Group produced several state of the art reviews and other publications related to this subject.
- Being the Caribbean member of the Education for All Forum established in 1995 to monitor progress on World Declaration on education for all by World Conference on Education for all in Jomtien, Thailand in 1990. In 1996, he was elected Alternate Chairman of the Forum. At the World Forum on Education for All in Dakar, Senegal in March 2000, Miller chaired the final session of the Conference and presented the Framework for Action to be achieved by 2015 and which was approved by Ministers of Education of over 170 countries across the world.
- External Examiners for Masters and Ph D theses of students from several Commonwealth universities. This includes being external examiner of a Higher Doctorate awarded by the Institute of Education, London University. The London University criteria for being appointed an external examiner for a Higher Doctorate is possession of a Higher Doctorate or being generally regarded as a leading authority in the world in the particular field.
- External reviewer of academics being considered to be promoted to the rank of Professor in several Commonwealth universities.
- Referee for articles submitted to national, regional and international academic journals, especially journals published in the Caribbean and Commonwealth.