JIS News

Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, Maxine Henry Wilson has cited leadership, clarity of mission, and clear objectives as the ingredients that should be at the forefront of efforts to achieve globally competitive workforces in Jamaica and the Caribbean.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of a Directors’ Workshop for Centres of Excellence for Teacher Training (CETT), at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston today (May 10), Minister Henry Wilson said, “I believe that we need to find and express the ingredients, of leadership, clarity of mission and clear objectives if we are to build a quality globally competitive workforce and a liveable environment for our people”.
The occasion marked the gathering of CETT directors and representatives from the Caribbean and Latin America to discuss the future role and plans for the CETT in the Andean region. Noting the importance of education to the Caribbean region, Minister Henry Wilson informed that, as has always been the case, regional education Ministers had recognized the importance of education to the future of the region.
She added that they were now looking to establish common Caribbean standards and certificates for Grades 6 and 11 across the region and the CETT will enable the achievement of this objective. “We’re working to establish common standards and certificates across the region for up to grade 6 and 11 and the CETT will allow us some of the raw materials to achieve this,” the Minister noted.
Mrs. Henry Wilson further noted that the success of the CETT had been due to its combined mix of leadership, clarity of mission and clear objectives and that these factors should therefore be aligned to national and regional development.
She expressed the hope that the CETT would not become a “nine-day wonder” but would instead be embedded in the country’s teaching and learning practices.
Turning to the improvement of literacy rates at the primary school level, she informed of plans to establish a minimal performance target education programme to be achieved by 2015. “Improving literacy performance in primary school is our top priority,” Minister Henry Wilson remarked.
Included in the targets is a 90 per cent mastery in all four areas of Grade 1 readiness inventory by 2015; 85 per cent should achieve grade 4 level competence and literacy and 85 per cent should achieve a national mean score of 80 per cent in all Grade Six Achievement Tests.
The Education Minister noted that the challenge in achieving these goals laid in achieving sustainability, and expressed the desire that CETT and all other educational programmes would combine their efforts to avoid overlap and contribute substantively to the education system.
“I hope that the CETT and other programmes geared towards educational development will collaborate so we don’t keep learning the same things over and over and that we will make a genuine effort to pull from our experiences the very best practices and put them to work by cascading them in the system,” she emphasised.
Meanwhile, in his remarks Deputy Director of United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Dr. Kevin Rushing encouraged all stakeholders in the programme to think carefully about sustainability plans and called for an action plan that would help teachers to carry out their duties effectively.
The CETT was one of three centres established under a summit of the Americas initiative, announced by President of the United States of America, George W. Bush in April 2001. The initiative was implemented by establishing centres of excellence in the Andean region of South America, the Caribbean and Central America with the goal of improving reading instruction in the regions, through enhanced teacher training.
The main aim is to address the high rates of illiteracy and school underachievement in the regions by improving reading instruction in the early grades of one to three. The programme is funded by USAID.

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