JIS News

Head of the Jamaica Teaching Council (JTC), Dr. Winsome Gordon, is appealing to members of the teaching profession to see the JTC as a supportive organisation rather than a punitive one.
“We are appealing to the teaching profession not to see the JTC as a punitive organisation. It is a supportive organisation and it is intended to raise the standards of the teaching profession to international levels”, Dr. Gordon stated during a recent ‘Think Tank’ session at the JIS Headquarters in Kingston.
She noted that while support will be provided for weak teachers, those who are not performing at the required standard, will have to explore different options.
“There are some members of the profession, who are not at all performing well and they are letting down the side, therefore those members will have to find another calling. The other teachers have no fear,” she stated.
“If there is a teacher who is weak”, she continued “there will be structures around him or her. The regional Education Officer, Principal, Senior Teacher – those persons will work with a teacher to improve his/her capabilities. If it gets to a point where the situation is hopeless, the Board, the Principal, the Education Officer, the report of the Inspectorate, will all contribute to the decision to revoke the teacher’s licence. It is not something that is going to be done lightly, not at all.”
According to Dr. Gordon, the JTC was set up to enhance Jamaica’s efforts to achieve the national education goal, and teachers have a critical role to play in this process.
“The JTC has been established (as a) a key contributor to the achievement of the national education goal, that is, education must facilitate lifelong learning and the acquisition of social and life skills. The teaching and learning experiences should enable all children, regardless of personal circumstances, to realise their full potential,” she articulated.
“This expectation of the education system puts teachers at the core, and the establishment of the JTC is an important move towards maintaining an effective teaching force,” she further said.
Stating that Jamaica is on the right track with the establishment of the JTC, Dr. Gordon said research indicates “that countries that have taken control of the supply, management and quality of the teaching force have made headway in improving the quality of education and hence, the life chances of their children and young people. In this respect, Jamaica is on the right track. We are committed to excellence in teaching and learning, and hence, to raise aspirations and achievements resulting in beneficial educational outcomes for all learners.”
The JTC will have four fundamental responsibilities; regulatory, capacity building, raising the status of teachers and advising the Minister of Education on needed policy and new direction. It will also use a formative approach to ensure that it stays on track and is effective in the work that it does. The JTC will also foster partnerships, use a participatory approach and will be transparent to the teaching profession.
In the meantime, Dr. Gordon said there are plans to establish Quality Education Circles (QECs), to increase the visibility of the JTC. These circles, which will cover the island, can be “defined as a geographic location with a community of learning institutions starting from early childhood institutions to the highest level of education,” she explained.
The QECs will allow, among other things, private sector and community partnerships, a convergence of educational, health and welfare services, care group support among teachers, and teachers working together to improve the articulation of the different levels of education and the quality of education within the circles.
Additionally, it will enable the establishment of teacher resource centres where teachers will be able to access materials, exchange ideas and attend training workshops.