Gov't prepared to fund teacher training, certification but...

Observer writer

Thursday, November 08, 2018

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ROSE HALL, St James — Education Minister Senator Ruel Reid says while the Government is prepared to fully fund teacher training, development and certification in a bid to fill the shortfall in competent teachers for the sector, such a move will come with a five-year bond.

“There are key competencies that we need that the Government is prepared, as we already are doing, to fully fund the teacher training and development and certification, providing that we are going to bond you for at least five years — so there is a certainty in terms of the return on investment. Because we can't just invest in our teachers and then we don't have access to their services,” Senator Reid said.

Pointing to the movement of teachers worldwide, the minister noted that there is a shortage of 69 million teachers globally.

For this reason, the minister is of the opinion that technology can be used to assist in closing the gap.

“Mr President, you and I will have dialogue on it, because I said to the extent I cannot keep your teachers in Jamaica, I will have to use more ICT (information and communications technology). So, wherever they go I can still have them teaching while they are away in a virtual way. That is one solution,” Senator Reid stated.

The minister was addressing the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030 Annual Meeting and 11th Policy Dialogue Forum at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James, the first for the region, on Tuesday.

Earlier, president of Jamaica Teachers' Association Dr Garth Anderson pointed out that technology has changed the face of teaching. However, he stressed that technology cannot replace human contact.

“Teachers are indeed the heartbeat of our societies and there is no doubt that technology has changed how the art of teaching is performed and practised. Despite this, the teacher, I believe, will not ultimately be replaced by technology in the classroom. This is the case as the nature of teaching is far more than relaying information, but instead has a high degree of human interaction and an investment of selves in the lives we teach. This is a kind of interaction, ladies and gentlemen, that the robots just cannot provide,” Dr Anderson argued.

The five-day forum, which commenced on Tuesday, is being held under the theme 'Strengthening Teacher Education: A Prerequisite for quality teaching, training and learning'.

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