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Story Highlights

  • Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says promotion in the teaching profession must be on the basis of the value and not necessarily on years of service.
  • Minister Thwaites assured trainee teachers that there is a place for those who excel and have a love of teaching.
  • The Minister lauded the teacher training institutions for the important role they are playing in the development of the nation.

Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says employment and promotion in the teaching profession must be on the basis of the value that persons can add to the tasks to which they are assigned and not necessarily on their years of service.

Rev. Thwaites, who was speaking at the inaugural Research Day at St. Joseph’s Teachers’ College in Kingston on October 3, assured the trainee teachers that there is a place in the profession for them, particularly for those who excel and have a love for teaching, but a new approach has to be taken.

“We have an overflow of teachers for the next two years, but the process of attrition that is underway will mean that by the time many of you graduate, there will be a need for a large number of good teachers. But, we have to think about how we are going to approach enrollment and promotion within the teaching profession,” he said.

Meanwhile,  the Minister lauded the teacher training institutions for the important role they are playing in the development of the nation.

“The teachers’ colleges, unfortunately, have for some time now been the Cinderella of the education system. We haven’t paid enough attention, as a nation, to the extraordinary seminal role and training that takes place right here….What goes on here is of significance to the entire nation and you should see yourselves as critical actors in the process of personal as well as national development,” he said.

Looking at the theme of the Research Day, ‘Education for Development: Promoting and Engaging Change Through Research’,  Rev. Thwaites pointed out that there is a misnomer in the popular culture that thinks that education is measured simply by the number of CSEC subjects or GSAT passes that is obtained. He said education is a much broader composite of skills. “Yes the successes in the academic subjects are extremely important, but it is much more than that,” he said.

The Minister pointed out that the world of work requires a balance of skills now that is quite different from what it was a few years ago and reiterated that the policy of the Ministry going forward is that every high school student, starting in 2016/17, must take the examinations to receive a high school diploma, in addition to having a marketable skill when they graduate.

“This is new territory. I am asking that in this and in future research days that you assist us in ensuring that the requisite groundwork, the necessary research has been done, so that we have a broader view of education,” Rev. Thwaites said.

In her welcome remarks, Principal, Dr. Gwendolyn Melhado, said the institution’s first Research Day is: “a day when we acknowledge, emphasise, and bring to active awareness the importance of research and its practice to our academic programmes and delivery formats.”

Dr. Melhado pointed out that in education, research is critical to scholarly writing, a practice that the college is now demanding of its students and will continue to demand, noting that here at St. Josephs, “we seek to expose our students to various methods of research as they seek to become effective teachers.”

Among the research topics up for discussion during the day were: ‘Improving Reading Comprehension Through the use of Computer-Aided Instruction Among Third Graders’; ‘Teachers’ Perception of Selected Attributes of Language Arts in the Revised Primary Curriculum and their Reported use of the Curriculum Guide’; ‘The Jamaica Debt Crisis: Implications for the Development of Human Capital’; ‘Marcus Garvey and the Issue of Values and Attitudes in the Jamaican Society’; and ‘The Relationship Between Fatherless Households and Post Secondary Aspirations of Boys at a Selected High School in Jamaica’.

The Jamaica Information Service (JIS) was one of several partners with the college in staging the day’s activities. Others included Victoria Mutual Building Society; The Jamaica Red Cross; HEART Trust/NTA; and Ian Randle Publishers.