Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, has announced that some 18,000 public school teachers are to be upgraded over the next two years, through creative and cost-effective means, including in-service interventions.
Addressing the opening of St Joseph’s Teachers’ College Symposium 2012, at the college campus in Kingston, the Minister declared that the maintenance of professional standards is a critical element of the registration of teachers, and that the participation of teachers’ representatives in the implementation process has ensured that the professional registration requirement is “no longer an issue."
“We need this kind of alliance between teachers and the Ministry of Education in order to achieve the desired levels of accountability, discipline and the maintenance of professional standards,” he emphasised.
The Minister urged teacher training institutions that given the “sacredness of the profession,” greater scrutiny of new entrants must be undertaken.
He identified a number of longstanding issues affecting pupils that are now being placed on the agenda for urgent redress, with the replacement of over 240 pit latrines still being used, particularly in rural Jamaica, and sound-proofing the partitions separating classrooms, as two of the more urgent demands.
The two-day symposium is themed: ‘Surpassing Today’s Teaching Challenges’, and has attracted widespread participation from a wide cross section of teachers from the Corporate Area and neighbouring parishes.
Numeracy and Literacy are the main areas of focus and involves a number of workshops, including basic mathematics facts for young children; using the internet to increase enthusiasm for mathematics; and literacy development in early years.
By Allan Brooks, JIS Senior Reporter