Lower criteria proposed for entry to teachers’ training college

- during consultation on new standards

Relaxing the requirements for admission into the teacher’s training college was one of many recommendations made yesterday when the Ministry of Education held its second of 71 planned consultations on professional standards for teachers.

Teachers, parents and other interested persons were given an opportunity to voice their opinions and suggestions on the professional standards drafted by the ministry. The standards outlined serve a number of purposes, including the provision of a frameworkwith which to assess the performance of teachers.

During yesterday’s consultation, held at the Queen’s College Auditorium, National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) Director Jennifer Cumberbatch was tasked with running through each page of the draft standards document and attendees were given the opportunity to give their feedback on what had already been covered.

One of several suggestions made was the relaxing of the requirements needed for entry to the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE). According to the standards outlined, five Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects with grades one or two in Mathematics and English are the minimal requirements for admission.

However, an attending teacher noted the declining CSEC Mathematics’ pass rates not only in Guyana but regionally. She opined that obtaining the required Mathematics grade would be a task for many and would deter them from pursuing a career in education.

Several other persons backed up the woman’s claims, providing varying reasons for the proposed leniency. One other educator suggested that the present requirements be upheld for those who seek to become Mathematics and English teachers while another opined that the college should train all admissions in the areas instead of rejecting them outright.

Another well-received recommendation was that of reducing the number of students per classroom. When given the opportunity to take the floor, another educator commended the monitoring of student’s progress in classes as outlined in the standards. However, she suggested small classroom numbers be implemented in order for effective monitoring.

The current draft document arose from consultations with smaller groups of teachers, parents and other education officials.

According to Minister of Education Priya Manickchand, 10,000 copies of the draft standards have been distributed to schools across the country. She added that the document is also available for perusal on the Ministry’s website (www.education.gov.gy).

Manickchand stated that several visits to communities across the country were also planned. Last week, she said, visits had been made to region schools in Region 1 and Cummings Lodge.

The next consultation will be held today at the Bartica Secondary School in Region 7 while another will be held tomorrow at the St Ninian’s Primary School in Region 1. The document will be made official after the completion of the consultations.

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