Sunday 21 January, 2018

Competence and care! Training alone does not make a teacher great

Chair of the Eastern Caribbean Joint Board of Education, Dr Babalola Ogunkola

Chair of the Eastern Caribbean Joint Board of Education, Dr Babalola Ogunkola

Focus on producing competent teachers rather than those who are just trained.

That was the message from Chair of the Eastern Caribbean Joint Board of Education, Dr. Babalola Ogunkola, this morning at the start of a two-day meeting with regional college principals, chief education officers, and representatives from the Caribbean Union of Teachers.

The meeting at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies is examining a number of issues affecting education, with updates expected on a number of initiatives.

Dr. Ogunkola, the Director of the School of Education at Cave Hill, believes the discussion must not only center on ensuring that teachers have core competencies, but that they have 21st Century skills to deal with demands of today’s students as well.

“In some places you have students [who] are better at manipulating technology than their teachers. We have some teachers who are afraid to even to set up the simplest of gadgets to teach,” he cited, as an example.

Beyond this, he insisted that the Eastern Caribbean needs educators who are not only competent to teach content in various disciplines, but are competent to facilitate individual learning, are competent assessors and can function as counselors, social workers and community resource managers.

“We should no longer be satisfied with producing trained teachers as they are called. But, we should deliberately begin to produce competent teachers who can take children, particularly struggling children, to where they should be. The skilled learners will also not be left behind. They will also be given the necessary opportunity to achieve whatever they have the capability and capacity to achieve,” Dr Ogunkola added.

The Eastern Caribbean Joint Board of Education is responsible for the delivery of programmes and initial certification in Teacher Education in a number of countries across the sub-region.