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The Education, Youth and Culture Ministry is to convene a series of island wide consultations in preparation for the introduction of a licensing and recertification system for all of the island’s teachers.
Education Minister Maxine Henry-Wilson, who made the announcement during her contribution to the 2005/06 Sectoral Debate in Gordon House on May 10, said the issue of professional retooling and the continuous education of teachers as a prerequisite for their sustained employment, would head the Ministry’s agenda this fiscal period.
Noting that the quality of teacher performance was a vexed but important issue, she said that while the educators should be lauded for their commitment and contribution to the profession, it was a fact that some were not performing at the levels required. She also cited concerns, about the qualifications for entry at the island’s teacher training colleges, and the curricula of these colleges.
“We have to place the issue of quality and performance of our teaching cohort squarely on the table,” Mrs. Henry-Wilson told her parliamentary colleagues, noting that the Ministry would be adopting the recommendation of the Education Taskforce, that all teachers must complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Education as a minimum qualification to be in the classroom.
Furthermore, in keeping with the Taskforce’s stipulation, persons who have a degree in a subject discipline, but have no teacher training, must complete at least a Diploma in Teacher Education. The issue of the management and organization of teaching at the classroom level was also one of the issues highlighted by the Taskforce.
Giving an update on the Teacher Performance Evaluation programme, the Education Minister informed that the test run has been completed and manuals have been prepared and the programme was being implemented across the island. She said that during the course of the year, the scheme would become a regular part of the evaluation process for all persons in the profession.
On other matters, Mrs. Henry-Wilson told the House of Representatives that the Ministry continued to strengthen the leadership and management capacity of principals at the primary level, through the training of 805 principals under the Primary Education Support Project (PESP).
It is expected that an additional 238 principals will complete training by June of this year and a further 310 during the summer period.
Minister Henry-Wilson said the intention was to eventually introduce leadership training at the secondary level, as it would become a requirement for aspiring principals and provide a gateway for further studies in educational management at the graduate level.