REFERRING to teachers as a precious commodity, Education Minister Anthony Garcia said many years ago a teacher was one of the most respected people in a community. But in these days of technological advancements and an attitude of ‘forward ever, backward never’ Garcia said there are some things he hopes would return from the past.
“Bring back the days when society understood the critical role that teachers played and why they deserve respect,” Garcia said as he delivered the feature address on Wednesday at a graduation ceremony for teachers who completed the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Teacher Professional Development training programme. The ceremony was held at Naparima College in San Fernando.
A total of 615 teachers graduated, the second cohort to have completed the programme. In December, the first cohort of 521 teachers graduated and Garcia said that the programme will continue so all teachers can receive such training.
He said government intends to soon provide 13,600 laptops to secondary schools. The minister anticipates that some may say there were laptops before and it is nothing new. “To that, we must agree, but this time around there is a plan, there is a consideration. This is why the government has committed to enabling you to be able to be competitors globally when it comes to education,” Garcia said.
Among those at the graduation were Minister of State in the Education Ministry Dr Lovell Francis; Chief Education Officer Harrilal Seecharan and Curriculum officer (ICT), Gerard Phillip. To the teacher, Garcia said: “Knowing that you have been trained in this way gives you the confidence in yourself to use these tools in the classroom but also highlights the Ministry’s investment in you.”
Francis, in his address, said that a few years ago it was easier to command the classroom space as the technology was very simple. “It was called chalk and blackboard and whatever else you were able to add to that to make the teaching and learning environment more interesting. Today the classroom space is no longer just a physical entity.”
The Ministry, he said, understands that the classroom is now a dynamic space. Every educator is now obligated to keep upskilling and learning.
“Before many of you finish your careers in teaching, our classrooms will be digitalised. There will be endless computers in the classrooms for every child,” Francis said.