Minister of Education, Hon Andrew Holness says that in an effort to sustain the continued growth of the early childhood sector, the Ministry, over time, will be seeking to ensure that more trained teachers are employed in these institutions.
Speaking at a press conference on December 9, at the Ministry’s Heroes Circle offices in Kingston to give an update on the early childhood sector, Mr. Holness said that the ideal situation is that all teachers should be trained.
“The system is no longer operated by absolutely untrained persons, so in terms of the training level, we would want to have all our teachers trained. That is a long term goal to which we are working,” he said.
Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness (centre), addressing a press conference on early childhood institutions, at the Ministry’s Heroes Circle offices in Kingston on December 9. Others (from left) are: Permanent Secretary in the Minsitry, Audrey Sewell and Chairman of the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), Professor Maureen Samms-Vaughan.
“At this point we have 22 per cent of teachers trained at the diploma level, and we have 50 per cent who are trained at the practitioner level. This means that relative to the rest of the Caribbean, even though Trinidad has more trained teachers than us, we certainly have far more practitioners, so the spread of training in the system is greater,” the Minister added.
Providing a breakdown of the qualified professionals in the sector, Chairman of the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), Professor Maureen Samms -Vaughan pointed out that of 8,181 Early Childhood Practitioners, some 7,312 are confirmed with qualifications.
“We define a trained teacher as somebody who has a diploma or bachelors degree in early childhood and, so we have about 22 per cent of our staff trained. This is the first time we are having this kind of information,” she said.
She also informed that 1,350 or 18 per cent of teachers are trained at the primary level, four per cent trained to secondary level, 14.1 per cent trained at the diploma level, 590 or eight per cent at the Bachelors level, while 48 or 0.7 per cent have completed their Masters.
Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness (centre), in discussion with Special Advisor in the Ministry, Dr. Rebecca Tortella (left) and Chairman of the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), Professor Maureen Samms-Vaughan, during a press conference to provide an update on the early childhood sector at the Ministry’s Heroes Circle offices in Kingston, on December 9.
“The majority of our practitioners are trained at the vocational level, amounting to 3,700 or just about 50 per cent of the persons working in the early childhood sector,” she said.
Dr. Samms -Vaughan explained that what has been done so far is to provide development support to early childhood institutions, particularly community basic schools and day care centres, where the teachers are less likely to be college trained.
“Development officers, many of whom are trained to the Masters level, have been providing development support to early childhood institutions through curriculum training, classroom observation and intervention, and provision of demonstration lesson plans. Additionally, development officers are trained to assist in improving health and safety standards in schools,” she added.
The ECC has reported that most of the highly trained teachers are found at private preschools/kindergartens and infant schools/departments.