Education, Youth and Information Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, is commending The Mico University College for partnering with the Jamaica Teaching Council (JTC) to reorganise the college’s practicum training for final-year students to enable them to operate in the online learning environment.
She said that the collaboration is a welcome response to the “new normal” created by the coronavirus (COVID-19), which has “forced us to retool, recalibrate and reorient our policies and programmes in many areas”.
Noting that education must be responsive to contemporary challenges and opportunities, Minister Williams said “it is important that we provide those entering the teaching profession with the right foundation, recognising that, in itself, education forms the basis for social and economic success”.
The Minister was addressing The Mico University College’s 2021 Awards and Appreciation ceremony held virtually on Monday (May 31) under the theme ‘Reorienting Education for the Digital Age: Preparing Quality Teachers Through Effective Partnership’.
The event aimed to recognise outstanding trainee-teachers and schools that accommodated them for their final-year practicum exercise, which took place between October 2020 and May 2021.
The Mico University College Practicum Unit collaborated with the JTC to develop a programme for final-year practice teachers, which prepared them to conduct lessons in the physical space as well as the virtual classroom setting.
The Mico President, Dr. Asburn Pinnock, said that the trainee teachers faced challenges in completing their practicum training as a result of the closure of schools due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“This year, The Mico, through its practicum unit, decided that this new environment required us to pivot, to review the processes that were in place. As we examined the teaching and learning space during the pandemic, we realised that we could switch to a new model to create a win-win situation,” he noted.
He pointed out that in addition to honing their skills, the trainee teachers were able to respond to the increased demand for more instructors in the physical and virtual space, with the Education Ministry agreeing to pay their final-year tuition fees.
Approximately 230 trainee-teachers in 19 accredited undergraduate programmes at The Mico University College were placed in 132 schools during the academic year.
Another 67 were placed in an additional 28 schools in January. In total, 297 trainee teachers were placed in 160 schools across 13 parishes.