Raise the bar

Teachers urged to up their game in the classroom

Barbadian educator Dr Stephen Boyce has said that the island’s teachers need a higher level of training and knowledge to remain relevant to the changing education needs of children.

The European Union Project Officer on Education for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean made the recommendation as he delivered the feature address at the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College’s 2015 graduation ceremony at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre Saturday.

Featured Speaker Dr Stephen Boyce
Featured Speaker Dr Stephen Boyce

“We need to raise the bar to make sure that teachers entering our classrooms have the requisite attitude, aptitude and ability, along with the requisite content technological and pedagogical knowledge to do the job, and that they must continue to perform well to stay in those jobs,” he said.

The former Queen’s College Teacher and Senior Programmer at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, pointed to Barbados’ statistics, which he said, “indicate that 43 per cent of our classroom teachers would reach the qualification bar of first degree and two further years of pedagogical training, however 10 per cent of our teachers have no post-secondary academic qualifications.

“Some would argue that these numbers may be misleading and not a measure of the final output from the system. Some would argue that there are some highly competent uncertified teachers who get results and other more academically astute colleagues who do not.”

However, acknowledging that there were no statistics to back up such an argument, he said nonetheless, “we cannot leave the future of our children to the risk of either of their less than ideal scenarios”.

He congratulated Erdiston for setting a foundation in satisfying the demand for more trained teachers in the system, and said that based on this achievement the College could move to a more flexible and diversified programme, allowing for advanced learning and specialization.

Erdiston 2015 graduating class valedictorian Dwight Carter receives his award from  Minister of Education Ronald Jones.
Erdiston 2015 graduating class valedictorian Dwight Carter receives his award from
Minister of Education Ronald Jones.
Special awardee Keisha Collymore receives her award from Minister of Education Ronald Jones.
Special awardee Keisha Collymore receives her award from Minister of Education Ronald Jones.

He suggested that a move by the College to offer a Bachelor’s Degree in Education would be a necessary first step.

Earlier in the ceremony, Principal Barbara Parris has touched on Erdiston’s efforts at reaching that 10 per cent of untrained teachers to whom Boyce later referred.

Parris spoke of the Teacher’s Introductory Programme, a four-week course targeting untrained teachers at the primary and secondary levels.

“Of the 100 participants enrolled in the programme, 49 pursued the primary component, while 51 completed the secondary programme.”

She said the course was designed to help these untrained teachers plan lessons effectively on return to their classrooms.

In his speech, Boyce contended that the world re-invented itself in all spheres over the past two decades, and “It is important for education to do the same”.

He warned Barbadian educators not to get on the bandwagon of what was trendy, trending or politically correct, but to pragmatically maintain the relevance of education beyond just delivering a social good.

“The solution to improving test scores is not giving more tests, but improving the quality of instruction and of the assessment. The solution to improving instruction is not to give one group of teachers more money, but to pay good salaries to all teachers who have made the grade and continue to receive good results.

“The solution to better schools is not to build more schools, but to improve the quality of existing school plants so that they are geared towards producing the thinkers of today and tomorrow rather than the industrial workers of yesterday.”

5 Responses to Raise the bar

  1. Tony Webster December 8, 2015 at 6:14 am

    Dr. Boyce’s words should be carved in stone over the entrance to the Ministry of Education. It would also be useful to place them on a plaque over the Hon. Minister’s private wash-room, (right over the mirror) where he might adjust his boutonierre etc, before making grand speeches before Parliament, or TV-8.

    Dr. Boyce, please accept my thanks for your invaluable guidance. I cannot recall a more factual, forceful, and visionary address on this subject. The one whch comes nearest, is that which I witnessed coming from the then Hon. Minister of Education, namely Dame “Billie” Miller, who delivered the Sir Winston Scott memorial lecture at “Harsun”, back in the 80’s. Two peas, in the pod of our hearts. Bravo, Sir!

    “Strength permitting, . he ought to aloso tatoo these urgings onto the posterior of every such serving honourable minister holding this vital responsinbility.If he has the strength le

  2. jrsmith December 8, 2015 at 7:16 am

    Education,education, where is it taking us, what is there to offer the young people. Our Barbados need fixing, our Barbados, need economic strength, our Barbados need people with vision. We have lost and will keep on loosing our bajan heritage.

    A lot of educated people , should join the talk , talk , club. We are hearing again, most professional people in Barbados, don’t pay taxes, why, we must blame , present and past government, for this problem , (THE THEM AND US CLASS SYSTEM IN OUR BARBADOS) is the problem.

    Why do we seems to have no real governing management , in Barbados and we have individual ministers. if we don’t choose the right people to manage Barbados LTD. we are going to be in worst situation than Greece.

  3. Ralph Talma December 8, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    1. What on earth is happening to the education system in B’dos? We used to be the most educated member of the Commonwealth. Why was the system changed? Is it because, as in the UK today, we seem to have lost not only respect for education, but also for those who teach it? Why are we now all Captains’ and there are no Able Seamen? The result will surely be a visit from the IMF.
    2. I suggest the Education Minister and his experts urgently speed off to Singapore. There, he will find that Lee Quan Yew has laid, inter alia, such solid educational foundations- as B’dos did at the same time- that his party is today able to maintain a GDP unsurpassed in all the WI, achieved by home grown experts in all the hi-tech industries. Come on B’dos, we can do it.

  4. Marcia Clarke December 8, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    In the same way that we have doctors who are specialists in their area of interest/skill, it should be the same with teachers.These teachers should be paid more for that particular skill and it should be utilized throughout the entire school they are assigned to.Students will benefit more.

  5. Kevin December 8, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    Congrats to all, congrats Ms Collymore, up and on.


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