- Eight Government-funded teachers’ colleges on October 7 signed a Heads of Agreement with the University of the West Indies (UWI) authorizing that institution to award Bachelor of Education degrees (B.Ed) on their behalf.
- The partnership is as a result of the Government’s policy decision that teachers will now require a first degree to gain normal employment in the secondary school system.
- The colleges have already begun delivering the programmes under this new regime, with the first graduating cohort already submitted to the university.
Eight Government-funded teachers’ colleges on October 7 signed a Heads of Agreement with the University of the West Indies (UWI) authorizing that institution to award Bachelor of Education degrees (B.Ed) on their behalf.
The institutions are: Shortwood Teachers College, St. Joseph’s Teachers College, Churches Teachers College, Moneague College, Bethlehem Moravian College, Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College, G.C. Foster College of Sports and Physical Education, and the College of Agriculture, Science and Education.
The partnership is as a result of the Government’s policy decision that teachers will now require a first degree to gain normal employment in the secondary school system. It also reflects the Ministry’s thrust to restructure the tertiary education sector.
The colleges, under the umbrella of the Teachers’ Colleges of Jamaica (TCJ), developed a common syllabus for the various specialist areas at the secondary level. Following feedback from the University Council of Jamaica, the Ministry of Education asked the UWI to award B.Ed. degrees for the teachers’ colleges.
The colleges have already begun delivering the programmes under this new regime, with the first graduating cohort already submitted to the university.
Addressing the signing ceremony at the UWI’s Mona campus, Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, said that some 11,000 teachers need to be upgraded to the bachelor’s level.
“We have cohorts of aspiring teachers, who must satisfy that standard…no longer is the broad teacher’s diploma adequate for our educational advancement. Specialisations are needed, not only in subject areas, but in teaching methodologies, and character formation,” he contended.
Minister Thwaites welcomed the partnership, pointing out that instead of eight entities expending separate resources to introduce and seek accreditation for B.Ed programmes, they are benefitting from the UWI’s standing as a reputable degree granting institution, with international recognition.
He said that with the collaboration, more persons will apply to teacher’s colleges, because they will now be able to acquire a UWI degree at these institutions.
Principal of the UWI, Mona, Professor Archibald McDonald, said the partnership signals a new pathway in how tertiary education is managed and delivered in Jamaica.
“This is a significant collaboration, which will allow for the integral knowledge exchange between our institution and the teachers’ colleges that is specifically designed to enhance the overall management, and consequently the educational output of B.Ed programmes across Jamaica,” he stated.
Professor McDonald said the agreement will ensure that students pursuing B.Ed programme at these institutions will receive a quality degree that is accredited, comparable, and has been designed in line with national and international standards.
In her remarks, Dean of Principals of the TCJ, Yvonne Clarke, said the objective of the partnership is to fulfill the national thrust for professionally qualified teachers, who are trained and developed to a bachelor’s degree level, and who are equipped with the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to be “effective nurturers of Jamaica’s future”.
The authorised programmes include: early childhood education, primary education, special education, and school counselling, along with secondary education in the specialised areas of: business studies, computer studies, English, Geography, History, human ecology, mathematics, modern languages, religious education, science (biology, physics and chemistry), and social studies.