Professor Joel Warrican; Director, School of Education, The UWI Cave Hill and Chair of the Joint Board of Teacher Education (JBTE) for the Eastern Caribbean

Board in pursuit of quality education

Confront the issues!

Director of the School of Education at The University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus Professor Joel Warrican, issued the call to this region’s leading technocrats in education, as they examine the status of teacher education in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

He was at the time addressing the office of the Joint Board of Teacher Education (JBTE) for the Eastern Caribbean annual two-day meeting which convened yesterday at The Cave Hill Campus, under the theme “Transformative Education for Sustainable Development in the Region: Resilience in the Face of Change and its Significance”.

“As I reflect on the theme, other considerations come to mind. I think about our sustainable future in the face of harsh economic realities, apparent social upheavals, menacing environmental hazards and global uncertainties.”

“Also, I think that we have to be deliberate in our efforts to build resilience into the systems that prepare our young citizens for their future,” he stressed, also noting that there are some conditions which inhibit their fight to strengthen the resilience of the citizenry in the region.

According to Prof. Warrican, who is also the Chair of JBTE, some of these inhibitors are: A Common Entrance Examination, which large proportions of students do not meet the expected standards; A stratified secondary school system created by the manner in which the results of the CEE are used to allocate students to schools; A stratified school system that leads to the marginalization of students who are allocated to “bad” schools and labelled accordingly; and the secondary school exit examinations, where more than half of the students writing the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) cannot obtain passing grades in 5 subjects including English and Mathematics.

Moreover, he identified that large proportions of classroom teachers are still untrained; Teachers teaching in areas for which they are not adequately qualified; No mechanisms that ensure that teachers pursue professional development after completing initial teacher education programmes, e.g. licensing based on updated qualifications; as well as the ineffective use or even rejection of technology as a tool for teaching and learning on schools.

“At this meeting we have the leading technocrats in education in the sub-region. We must confront these issues,” he urged.

“Acknowledge them without blaming and finger pointing and then systematically seek solutions; sustainable solutions that can help students who pass through our classrooms to develop the resilience to not only survive the challenges that they will face as a result of what our and past generations have done, but also work together to themselves seek viable, sustainable solutions”. (TL)

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