Minister of Education, Rev the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, has called on regional educators to be unwavering in the task of delivering quality education that can transform the societies in which they live.
He was addressing the opening of the Latin America and Caribbean Conference on the teaching profession earlier on November 6, at the Hilton Rose Hall Hotel in St. James. The three-day conference is being held under the theme: ‘Advancing the Teaching Profession, Achieving Education for All.'
Urging the delegates to take seriously, the title of the conference, the Minister said that “education for all,” goes beyond the passes in any examination, to speak to the “very texture of the human society that all of us hope for ourselves, and for our communities”.
As such, he said, focus must be placed on achieving the basics, and ensuring that each child is able to read and write, and have command of the principles of Mathematics.
“This will affect significantly, the patterns of training in our colleges, and demand flexibility. The teacher of general science has to be a teacher of literacy, if his or her students are not proficient. So must the teacher of art and the professor of Spanish, or of English. There has to be an ensuring that these basics are met,” the Minister argued.
He encouraged the delegates, as they examine measures to advance the profession, to look at the issues of leadership and security of tenure.
“Is there not a certain amount of critical self-reflection that is necessary when we look at ways in which security of tenure for most teachers has, in fact, created a mode of complacency, which does not necessarily inure to the professionalism and the upliftment of status and of remuneration, which in fact the profession seeks for itself ?,” the Minister questioned.
As it relates to leadership in schools, the Education Minister noted that “no more is it an issue of seniority, favoritism, or political opportunism. It is a skill science that is required of the managers of the education process."
He informed that the soon to commence National College on Educational Leadership, will focus on the continuous and vigorous training of principals. “This will continue and be criteria for the advancement of those who seek leadership in the profession,” he stated.