Teaching standards important for accountability – Dr. Douglas Slater

1. Members of the audience of the opening of the Regional Consultations on Developing Standards for the Teaching Profession in Latin America and the Caribbean Region. on Wednesday

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) Standards for the teaching profession were important as they held both governments and practitioners accountable, CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General, Human and Social Development, Dr. Douglas Slater said Wednesday.

Dr. Slater was at the time addressing the opening of a two-day Regional Consultations on Developing Standards for the Teaching Profession in Latin America and the Caribbean Region. The event is being held at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre in Georgetown, Guyana. Educators, educator trainees, Ministers of Government, representatives of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and various other stakeholders attended the opening.

Describing the forum as timely, Dr. Slater said the Consultation also acknowledged the challenges being faced in education and sustainable development.

According to him the standards held governments accountable and responsible for their educational investments and also held practitioners accountable for the time students invested in the classroom and the time parents were required to invest in schools to support the success of learners.

“The standards should be constructed as the lens that educational stakeholders, parents and students use to make sense of and monitor the outcomes of education as a social investment,” he stated.

Minister of Education, Science and Technology of Antigua and Barbuda, the Hon. Michael S. Browne, who also spoke at the opening, focused on three areas which he said were crucial to developing standards for the teaching profession. The areas were context, content and continuous assessment. In relation to context, he said the purpose of what was being taught and to whom was vital, while continuous assessment would inform educators about why they had been teaching.

The Hon. Natalio Wheatley, Minister of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture of the British Virgin Islands said it was important to set a high threshold for those wishing to enter the profession. He said the British Virgin Islands had considered issuing licenses to teachers and that this would be one way of evaluating teachers and would not be used as a punitive measure but as a means of offering help to them.

Chief Education Officer, Ministry of Education Guyana, Dr. Marcel Hutson, spoke on behalf of Guyana’s Minister of Education. He was also of the opinion that establishing standards for the teaching profession was timely and stated that it was needed for the transformation of the education sector.

Director of the UNESCO Office in Kingston, Ms. Katherine Grigsby, in her remarks, said CARICOM had an important role in streamlining teaching standards. She said the framework that would be developed during the Consultation was expected to be inspirational rather than instructive.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Planning and International Engagement of the University of Guyana, Dr. Barbara Reynolds, made the keynote address. She gave a PowerPoint presentation in which she highlighted that psychology was an important component of teaching. She urged participants to think about equipping teachers with standards that would help them to groom students to be what they wanted to become, how to learn and how to live with each other.
This is the second in a series of Consultations which is being held in each of the five UNESCO regions. The first regional consultation workshop covered the Africa region and took place in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) on 18-19 March 2019. Following each regional consultation workshop, a group of international experts meets to review and discuss the input generated from the stakeholder discussions.

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