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Education Minister, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, has informed that the Jamaica Teaching Council (JTC) Bill is now in its final stages.

The proposed legislation makes provision for the strengthening of the regulatory framework for the teaching profession and the establishment of the Jamaica Teaching Council, as the agency responsible for excellence in the teaching profession through regulation (registration, licensing, standards, and discipline), professional development, advocacy and advisory functions.

Speaking at a press briefing at his Heroes Circle offices in Kingston on

December 12, Minister Thwaites noted that the draft Bill has been posted on the Ministry’s website for comments from the general public.

He said a final version of the Bill is expected to be settled with the Chief Parliamentary Counsel for presentation to Cabinet by March 2013. If approved, it will be tabled in Parliament in the legislative year 2013/2014.

Mr. Thwaites also informed that compulsory professional development is going to become a condition for the re-licensing of teachers.

“When the JTC Bill comes into law next year, the compulsory professional development is going to be required and this is not to be seen as any penalty or sanction, rather it is to be seen as bringing the teaching profession into the same level of professional pedigree as lawyers, doctors, and many others,” he stated.

More than 23,000 teachers have been registered on the JTC portal.