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Cabinet yesterday (May 22), gave its full support to a proposal from the Ministry of Education and Youth to establish a Consortium of Institutions for Teacher Education (CITE), which will institute a four-year degree course of study at teacher colleges, instead of the current three-year diploma programme.
Providing details of the CITE programme at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing, Information and Development Minister, Senator Colin Campbell, said the project originated after “recent reviews.found that the teacher training certificates offered by these institutions [teacher colleges] are becoming less marketable or usable, not only in Jamaica but within the global marketplace”.
Minister Campbell informed reporters that the CITE programme is expected to get underway in time for the start of the new school year in September. It is anticipated that within the next three to five years, the current certificate programme now being offered in teacher colleges would be phased out, resulting in “everybody going to a teacher training institution leaving with a degree”, he added.
Ten teacher colleges across the island have been identified to participate in the programme. They are Bethlehem Moravian College, the College of Agriculture, Science and Education; Church Teachers’ College, Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts, G.C. Foster College, Mico College, Moneague College, St. Joseph’s Teachers’ College, Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College and Shortwood Teachers’ College.
Under the CITE programme, Mr. Campbell said prospective teachers, for the most part, would learn by way of distance education and by technology, “whereby students in any college could receive lectures from any campus”.
The Minister emphasised that given that the CITE programme was a major undertaking, it was expected that legislation would have to be drafted and taken back to Cabinet in order to permit the phasing-in of the programme in September.
“When it is phased in. it will start with a year-four programme, so teachers who have been in college for three years, and would normally graduate this year with a certificate, they may now opt to go into the fourth year,” he explained.
Senator Campbell added that for persons who matriculate to that fourth year, “you would be leaving after year four with a degree, and by means of that process, it is hoped that in three to five years, the certificate programme would be abolished and the full degree programme substituted for it”.