While the experience at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) is one designed to provide specifically crafted teachers’ education, the need for some unlearning may also be now required. This was the assertion vocalised by Chief Education Officer, Olato Sam, as he addressed a gathering at a recent ‘Open Day’ at the institution’s Turkeyen campus.
According to him, the CPCE experience must entail some unlearning of what would have been internalised as proper teaching, since research shows that teachers automatically mirror the type of teaching/learning dynamics they are exposed to.
According to Sam, the teachers’ college is one that must move well beyond the traditional offerings and truly reflect progressive educational approaches that are in line with contemporary educational demands.
“This has to be done in every classroom consistently across the CPCE spectrum. I do expect that the institution will rise to this challenge,” said Sam, as he observed that “we have now defined and attracted a better quality of individuals as it relates to the qualifications of applicants.”
Moreover, he noted that it is now vital that “we graduate to addressing the softer elements such as attitudes, dispositions, consistent with professional expectations so that we can assure the nation that the individuals heading into our classrooms across this country are sound models of what we hold high as our educational ideals.”
CPCE must therefore begin to provide various educational products which are greatly needed in the education system, said Sam. The CEO went on to note that while the touted products have not yet been fully defined at the campus, he is encouraged enough by the openness of the institution’s administration to receiving suggestions.
And according to him, the focus has been on areas such as Special Needs Education, Guidance and Counselling and School Welfare, as well as various areas of specialisation such as Information Communication Technology (ICT) and the advances made in Physical Education, the Allied Arts in particular, the Performing, Visual and Theatre Arts, and Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET), all of which the Ministry has been constantly engaging CPCE on. And the CEO was eager to note that the institution has begun to deliver in very real ways in these aspects.
He detailed too that beyond that there has to be an expansion of the secondary training component at the institution in areas that are currently underserved, such as Regions One, Seven, Eight and Nine.
“I am eagerly awaiting the day that we can declare to this nation that we have started secondary training in our Hinterland Regions…and given the inroads made in relation to early childhood and primary education in those locales, I am thinking it cannot be in the too distant future we will be doing that, and I can’t wait.”
But more importantly, Sam said that he is expecting that within the next five years “we as a nation must be able to extend to most, if not all of our applicants to the teaching profession, the mandate that they must first be trained before becoming a teacher and that in-service training will be a figment of our past imagination and realities.”
According to him, in order for the education system to move forward, efforts must be made to raise the standard, a move that will cater to better quality people entering the nation’s classroom having had the benefit of the sound pedagogical training that CPCE offers.
“Our children deserve that and we must work towards making that a reality,” said Sam as he noted that the introduction of education seminars at the College were in fact intended to aid needful processes to tackle key educational issues that are already being eagerly addressed.
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