Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Teachers’ union urged to place emphasis on standards

Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General, has urged teachers gathered 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.

He stressed that the 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 maintain 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.

“There should be 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,” he highlighted.

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.

“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.” (TL)

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