Basseterre, St. Kitts: A two-week series of consultations, aimed at professionalising the teaching force in St. Kitts and Nevis, began on Monday 20th March 2023.
St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission for UNESCO and Ministry of Education officials welcomed Dr. Steve Nwokeocha, Executive Director of The Africa Federation of Teaching Regulatory Authorities to the federation to facilitate the series of consultations. The project was launched with a courtesy call on the Minister of Education, the Hon. Dr. Geoffrey Hanley. Also present were the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Mrs. Lisa Pistana; Senior Assistant Secretary, Dr. Tricia Esdaille; Focal Point, Mrs. Carla Mills Diamond and Secretary General to St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission for UNESCO, Ms. Dorothy Warner.
According to Mrs. Diamond, chairperson of the core and steering committees, “The whole idea of the project is to transition from an in-service model of teacher education to a pre-service model of teacher education.” Mrs. Diamond continued by saying, “There must be a common standard of what it means to be a teacher. In order to ensure that the process is culturally relevant and that the outcomes reflect our national realities, consultations are necessary.”
During the course of the first week, Dr. Nwokeocha met several stakeholders including senior officials in the Ministry of Education, members of the steering committee for SKN Teachers’ Unions, and teachers of both primary and secondary schools, as well as staff from Early Childhood Development Units to facilitate these consultations.
In week two, the consultant undertook a series of Capacity Building Workshops to train persons to operate the National Teaching Council (NTC). Mrs. Carla Mills Diamond explained that these workshops aim to cover the NTC’s Implementation Frameworks for Licensing and Registration, National Teaching Standards, Supervision and Support, and Performance Assessment and Evaluation.
The consultant, Dr. Steve Nwokeocha, explained, “Once the pre-service model of teacher education takes effect, teachers will be qualified before they are admitted into the profession.” He further stated, “The teacher status is expected to increase and the quality of teaching and learning will improve. Teachers from the federation will be internationally recognized as they will be qualified and licensed to teach in other parts of the world.”
Dr. Geoffrey Hanley, Hon. Minister of Education, welcomed Dr. Steve Nwokeocha, and stated that he is “Pleased that the MOE is implementing this project to enhance the teaching profession.” This, he describes as “a turning point in education and a positive step towards upgrading the profession to where it will be deserving of the label, ‘the noblest of professions’.”
Secretary General, Warner, said, “The National Commission is honoured to represent UNESCO as it provides technical and financial support to the Ministry of Education to professionalise teaching and raise the standards of education in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Ambassador David Doyle, who continues to lobby in support of SKN projects at UNESCO Headquarters, stated: “The arrival of Dr. Steve in St. Kitts and Nevis marks the continuity of one of our flagship projects in cooperation with UNESCO to the professionalization of the teaching force and strengthen the entire education system across the Federation. UNESCO’s unique expertise in education policy development brings leading-edge guidance to St. Kitts and Nevis, whether it be a national teacher qualification framework or developing a continuous professional development programme.
The relationship built over the past five years between the St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission, the Ministry of Education, the UNESCO Teacher Task Force Secretariat in Paris and the Permanent Delegation to UNESCO has proven a versatile arrangement in transforming St. Kitts and Nevis’ education strategy alignment with best professional teaching practices.”
The Ministry of Education and the National Commission for UNESCO are grateful that this project is on its way to being successfully implemented. Thanks to the consultant, steering committee and all stakeholders for their participation in transitioning the teaching force in St. Kitts and Nevis to a higher level of professionalism.