JIS News

A Bill to officially establish the Jamaica Teaching Council (JTC) is expected to be tabled in the House in August, by Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness.
This was disclosed today (July 21), by Director of the Jamaica Teaching Council (JTC), Dr. Winsome Gordon, at a JIS ‘Think Tank’.
Dr. Gordon pointed out that the draft Bill is being prepared. “We are almost there and we expect that by August, 2010, we will be able to go to the next step, which is to Parliament, and Minister Holness will table it,” she said.
According to the Director, teachers are currently registering with the Council and will be licensed according to subject areas, and Committees are now being established to set definite standards.
“At the moment we are setting up the subject standards committee. We are starting with Mathematics, Science and English; those are some of the critical areas. We expect by September this year these committees will be up and running and by January of 2011 we will have standards in the selected subject areas,” she explained, while noting that only the best professionals from these areas will serve on the committees.
“We have tried our best to identify the best professionals in the Sciences, Mathematics and English. We have done that through advertisements, word of mouth, records of experiences and now we have those people listed and they have been contacted. We have just completed the terms of reference for each committee,” Dr. Gordon informed.
The Director pointed out that partnerships are being explored to strengthen the committees.
“We are also working on the possibilities of having some international agencies and maybe one or two universities partner with the committees and they will set standards for the subject areas. These are standards by which teachers can measure themselves, to see how they are doing and what they are doing. They are not punitive, they just give the teachers the yardstick to say this is how well I am doing. It allows for self assessment,” she explained.
According to Dr. Gordon, the JTC is most advanced in the area of professional development.
“We do not need a legislation to assist our teachers. The JTC is making substantial changes in the scope and outreach of the in-service training programmes, particularly of the newly appointed principals,” she noted.
“Training materials are informed by the guidelines and the policies of the Ministry, experiences of school leaders and we also use reports from the National Education Inspectorate (NEI) as a source of information. We have case studies of challenges with principals and we have used some of those cases in our training programmes,” Dr. Gordon said.
The Director informed that the trainers used are selected from outstanding educators.
The JTC was formed in 2008 under the aegis of the Ministry’s Transformation Programme.

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