- Teachers will no longer have to take extended leave to obtain university qualification, as effective September, the UWI Affiliated Programmes will be extended to all teachers’ colleges.
- The Education Minister, who was addressing a back-to school conference in St. Ann recently, said the move will bring value to the degree and the person, who attains it.
- He said it will also ensure that people from deep rural areas can obtain a degree from UWI, while they are still gainfully employed.
Teachers will no longer have to take extended leave to obtain university qualification, as effective September, the University of the West Indies (UWI) Affiliated Programmes will be extended to all teachers’ colleges.
“From September, all of our teachers’ college degrees are going to have the quality…and they are going to be articulated…connected and a teachers’ college degree …will become a degree from the University of the West Indies,” said Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites.
The Education Minister, who was addressing a back-to school conference in St. Ann recently, said the move will bring value to the degree and the person, who attains it.
He said it will also ensure that people from deep rural areas can obtain a degree from UWI, while they are still gainfully employed.
“It means that the quality standards of UWI are going to be applied and secondly, the breadth of curriculum and the technological connectivity between the colleges and the university will be assured…so you don’t have to …take two years off and go to UWI…you can stay at the teachers’ college and get your degree…not necessarily for education, but in a variety of disciplines,” he stated.
According to information from the UWI website, the UWI-Affiliated Programmes were initially offered in three teachers’ colleges, namely: Shortwood, Moneague and Bethlehem.
These degree programmes are the same as those that are offered face-to-face on the Mona campus. Quality Assurance processes are in place to ensure that students and institutions adhere to the university’s standards. The objective is to make it possible for more teachers to access relevant degrees without having to secure study leave and/or travel to the metropolis. This is in line with the country’s needs and the Ministry’s request that all of Jamaica’s teachers be upgraded to degree level.
Turning to other matters, the Education Minister urged student teachers to pursue training in areas such as special education, mathematics, and science.
He said the education system needs more specialist teachers, with qualification in areas other than guidance counselling.
“We need more special education teachers. Tell your colleagues and the young people, who want to go to training college…we have enough guidance counsellors right now…what we need are math specialists, science specialists and special needs specialists,” he stated.
Minister Thwaites further pointed to the need for the training institutions to re-examine their curriculum offerings to ensure they are producing graduates to satisfy needs.
“We have to be turning around our training colleges because the course of studies in these colleges might have been excellent up to now, but they are not meeting the needs that we have at present. We are graduating close to 3,000 trained teachers than we need each year. We simply can’t absorb them as we used to,” Rev. Thwaites said.