Published On: Mon, Aug 5th, 2013

SG urges regional teachers’ union to place emphasis on standards

TeachersCARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana  Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General, has urged teachers gathered in Georgetown, Guyana for the 36th Biennial Conference of the Caribbean Union of Teachers, to place emphasis on teaching standards to meet demands for a competent workforce in the Community.

In a message to the Conference, which opened on Monday evening at the Princess Hotel, Providence, Guyana, Secretary-General LaRocque said, “Our Community needs a workforce that is healthy, competent, and literate with strong basic skills and which can adapt to a rapidly changing labour market and technological world.”

As a consequence, he stated that there was need for “more than passing assurance” that persons functioning as teachers are certified to teach, thoroughly prepared, and maintained performance standards.

“This assurance can be ascertained through the introduction of a set of measures that will enable the regulation and management of quality within a framework of professional teaching standards and, consequently, improve status of the teaching profession,” Secretary-General LaRocque stated.

Teacher career policies and programmes stimulating the profession; the provision of incentives to attract the best prospective candidates; established entry-level professional standards; and certification and licensing in accordance with established professional standards were among the specific measures he suggested.

Noting that the principal requirement in the effort to bring teaching more in line with other established professions was a deliberate focus on the quality of teachers and their teaching, the Secretary-General added that teachers’ quality was a direct outcome of continuing professional education.

Against this backdrop, he said the need was urgent for standardisation of programmes that offer initial professional qualifications. This assumed added importance given that the CARICOM Single Market and Economy allows the free movement of teachers, he noted.

“Inherent in the concept of universal early childhood, primary and secondary education, is the need for quality and equity in the provision of education. This implies the need to ensure that teachers are adequately prepared for classroom and school realities and that there is on-going support and provision for their professional growth and development,” the Secretary-General said.

He assured teachers that the CARICOM Secretariat would continue to support the process of improving the quality of education in all Member States, and added: “We should all work towards the improvement of the teaching profession so as to achieve world class status for our Caribbean teachers, in both public and private schools, guided by the Regional Standards developed by CARICOM.”

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