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Story Highlights

  • Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, is urging teachers at all levels of the education system to apply for the Master Teacher Programme, as part of a move to improve their overall effectiveness.
  • The Master Teacher Programme was established in 1998 by the Ministry of Education as an alternative stream for professional development and promotion of teachers, who do not wish to work at the administrative level

Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, is urging teachers at all levels of the education system to apply for the Master Teacher Programme, as part of a move to improve their overall effectiveness.

The Minister was speaking to JIS News following an awards ceremony at the Medallion Hall Hotel in Kingston on July 16, to honour 11 master teachers for long and distinguished service. One new master teacher was also awarded a certificate for having successfully completed the programme.

Minister Thwaites said the Ministry will be collaborating with the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) to ensure that more teachers participate in the programme.

He promised to “look over” the application process and noted that “we will never, however, dilute the standards of excellence to qualify.”

The Minister was responding to JTA President, Doran Dixon, who, in his remarks at the awards ceremony, said teachers have complained that the process of application for the programme is “too rigorous.”

Rev. Thwaites said the Ministry “fully supports the Master Teacher Programme and we believe that it has had great benefit to the students, who have been exposed to master teachers over the years.”

“We take, very seriously, the suggestions by the Jamaica Teachers’ Association that the process has to be as straightforward as possible and that it’s not an obstacle course to become a master teacher,” he added.

The Master Teacher Programme was established in 1998 by the Ministry of Education as an alternative stream for professional development and promotion of teachers, who do not wish to work at the administrative level.

It has the intent of rewarding teachers in a manner similar to principals and vice-principals as an incentive to remaining active teachers and coaches.

Over 66 teachers have been inducted since the programme started and there are currently 19 active master teachers.

In the wake of criticisms about the programme’s effectiveness, the master teacher’s job description was reviewed and new standards created for the master teacher.

In addition, a Master Teacher Programme handbook was introduced, and the wearing of pins by master teachers of over three years implemented. An online web portal is being developed to come on stream shortly.

Seven-year master teacher from Holland High School in Falmouth, Trelawny, Dayle Evans, who was among Thursday’s awardees, expressed appreciation for the recognition.

“My greatest achievement is to see where I can competently develop plans for students’ success and to be able to see the students succeeding at the CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) level,” he said.

Mr. Evans, who is a teacher of Principles of Business, Principles of Accounts, Information Technology and Electronic Document Preparation and Management (EDPEM), was recognised for excellent work in the business department and his involvement in a range of activities aimed at student development.