Teachers to be Licensed


The Jamaica Teaching Council (JTC) will soon be licensing teachers in an effort to achieve greater accountability within the teaching profession.
Head of the JTC, Dr. Winsome Gordon, making the announcement at Tuesday’s (Dec.16)) JIS ‘Think Tank’, said the move is in keeping with the JTC’s regulatory functions, which hold teachers accountable for the performance of all their students.
Explaining how the process will work, Dr. Gordon informed that a newly graduated teacher will receive a provisional licence and will go through two years of mentoring before being eligible for “a full and normal licence”.
She indicated that there will be various tiers of licensing and licences – school leadership, master teacher, trained teacher and subject teacher, and each tier of licence “will have a set of standards associated with it and these standards will be linked to ongoing professional development and self-improvement.”
She said that there will also be an e-learning programme to build competencies in the use of information technology to enhance education.
According to the JTC Head, the licensing procedure will be participative and licensing will be considered a contribution to professional development. Persons who breach the established code of ethics will lose their licences, she advised.
She said that school leaders will be held responsible for ascertaining continuous professional development for themselves and their classroom teachers, and national standards will be developed to keep educational institutions in check.
“Keeping in mind that teacher education programmes are offered by varying institutions, steps will be taken to establish national standards for teacher education through accreditation, programme evaluation and feedback,” Dr. Gordon told JIS News, while pointing out that a number of strategies will be employed to provide teachers with valuable information.
In respect of capacity building, she said that the JTC will ensure that teachers have access to a variety of good quality teaching and learning material and have knowledge of various accredited in-service programmes that are being offered. The proposal is to use online services to disseminate information to all teachers, however in the short-term, paper-based material will be used to ensure that those schools without access to online services will not be left out of the distribution of information and materials.
According to Dr. Gordon, the JTC, through its licensing procedure, “will encourage teachers to undertake action research in their classrooms. Such research will help them to identify the weaknesses in their classes and to address those weaknesses accordingly. We will also encourage them to identify the strengths in their classes and to find out which factors contribute to those strengths, so they can use them to improve the learning achievement levels overall.”
She said that the JTC will determine the shortcomings in teacher preparation and will endeavour to keep the training of teachers relevant to the needs of the classroom through ongoing research and monitoring.

JIS Social