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Monday 16 July 2018
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Garcia places onus on teachers

Education Minister, Anthony Garcia, interacting with a newly inducted teacher during the "Orientation Session for Beginning Teachers 2017", held at the MIC Technology Institute, Macoya on August 23, 2017. PHOTO COURTESY THE EDUCATION MINISTRY.

Teachers have a responsibility, says Education Minister Anthony Garcia, in ensuring students get the highest quality curriculum delivery.

"We are looking at the reform of the curriculum; starting from the ECCE and the primary school (level); this is a document that will be discussed fully by Cabinet in a matter of weeks. So every effort is being made to ensure that the curriculum delivery in our schools is of a very high standard."

"You will be charged with that responsibility," Garcia told teachers, "because it is important for all of us to know that we have a responsibility in ensuring that the curriculum is delivered in the way that it should (be)."

The minister was speaking on Wednesday during the "Orientation Session for Beginning Teachers 2017", held at the MIC Technology Institute, Macoya where more than 250 new teachers were welcomed to the profession.

During the two-day event, new teachers of both primary and secondary level not only received their letters of appointment, they were given information by Education Ministry officials to help prepare them for entry into the classroom.

Garcia's advice included remembering that "a teacher touches the future.” The ministry, in a statement issued today, said Garcia said "this must be kept at the forefront of the mind on entry to the classroom, as students are conscious of everything a teacher says and does noting that learning takes place both academically and interpersonally."

The orientation session is an introduction to a two-year programme intended to treat with all aspects of the teaching service to ensure the most competent persons are placed in the nations classrooms.

The Teaching and Teacher Development Division of the Ministry of Education will conduct the programme with the involvement of the Curriculum Planning and Development Division, School Supervision and Management Division, Student Support Services Division and a number of other pertinent units within the ministry.

This programme is one of the ministry's initiatives aimed at ensuring that "the teaching and learning outcomes of the nations schools are in keeping with international best practice."

"The Government and Ministry of Education of Trinidad and Tobago (TT) continues to strive to maintain and push forward the successes of TT in meeting and exceeding the Sustainable Development Goals set out for education by the United Nations," the ministry stated.

Regarding the teaching of TT's history, Garcia said a report is currently before Cabinet from the committee that was appointed on January 20, 2016 to develop a refereed foundation textbook on this country's history.

"That report will be sent to all of our schools in a short space of time, so that our students will be able to have a fair knowledge; from the perspective of persons in our country, of how we have grown and how we have developed over a number of years," Garcia stated.

That committee was chaired by Professor Theodore Lewis, who was also appointed chairman of the committee tasked with reviewing the ECCE and Primary School curriculum.

Speaking at that function last year, Prime Minister (PM) Dr Keith Rowley had said the establishment of the committees was an effort to make the nation perform better.

"There is a general feeling that we are spending more and more money on education and getting less and less educated people and our behaviour is not like that of an educated people. A lot of our children are simply passing through schools. Hopefully, the work of these committees would change that in some, more than small, measure, because if we get the right approach, direct the right quantum resources to the base of that education pyramid, then it becomes easy to get the benefits of that initial investment."

Commenting on the development of a history textbook, Rowley said at the time that it was important that the accurate version of TT’s history be taught to children.

"If we don’t teach our children the proper and accurate version of our history, other people, some of them not meaning well, can teach the revised version according to their agendas, and that is unacceptable in the development of any nation."

The PM expressed hope that two versions of the textbook would be developed. A 'lighter' version for younger children and another one for those in secondary and tertiary schools.


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