Jun 08, 2010 News
The upgrading of teacher educators is crucial even as efforts are made to improve the delivery of education.
While addressing a gathering at the Cyril Potter College of Education, yesterday, Minister of Education, Shaik Baksh, revealed that there is nothing less than an urgent need for teacher educators to be upgraded, even as he speculated that “this is the weak link” that has been recognised.
The Ministry, he said, has in fact embarked on a reform agenda of teacher education and training in Guyana. This move, he disclosed, is poised to incorporate changes to the Board of the Training College to ensure that only quality persons are on board.
“We brought lecturers from the University of Guyana’s School of Education on the board with expertise…We made some changes to the management structure and more changes will take place.”
According to the Minister, it is clear that there is need to strengthen the management of the teachers college, thus efforts must be made to ensure that the current managers are exposed to training programmes in the Caribbean.
He noted that “above all we want to ensure that the teacher educators are upgraded and therefore we want to move to ensure that all teacher educators, all those at CPCE get additional training and training with a purpose and objective, that is, they must all move up to a Masters Degree in education.”
According to the Minister, the Ministry will no longer be satisfied with teacher educators having just a Bachelors Degree, therefore they must be exposed to modern training programmes.
The Minister said that new courses will have to be designed and introduced. “This is what we will be doing over the coming year or two. We will move the quality of education to a higher level so teachers will be the beneficiaries of that.”
And in engaging this measure, Baksh noted that efforts will be made to ensure that there is a paradigm shift in education.
He said that the Ministry will also seek to redesign the curriculum as part of the reform agenda. “By this I mean it is not about just filling the syllabus with information…We have to make that shift away from only knowledge to acquisition of information in the curriculum.
“In the secondary schools we know what is happening there; regurgitation – children are only cramming the curriculum and trying to pass examinations. We have to move away from that,” he cautioned.
At the moment, the Education Ministry is utilising the service of a specialist consultant who is helping to redesign the curriculum. At the same forum too, the Minister, emphasised the importance of the role of teachers as change agents in the society.
According to him, there is an urgent need for the role of teachers in the society to be restored, a feat which must start at the level of the Teachers Training College.
“We have to ensure that it starts from the teachers college that what is taught here leaves an imprint on the minds of the teacher…They have to go out in the society as a whole as change agents,” the Minister asserted.
It is of utmost importance, Baksh said, that teachers interact with members of the community and not seek to confine themselves to the school alone.
“To restore that image of the teacher, teachers must interact with parents and others and don’t see teaching as merely teaching a subject and completing the curriculum alone and then leave.”
Additionally, it is crucial that teachers seek to understand the various social and economic backgrounds from which students come, an undertaking that very few teachers dare to engage, the Minister noted.
“This is absent in too many cases. The teachers don’t make a differentiation between and among different students; to look at their needs…and that is in part responsible for what seems to be on the rise – the kinds of unacceptable behaviours; the lost of values in the school system and we have to restore that.”
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