Higher standards needed for persons seeking to become teachers – BVI Minister

Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture Minister of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) Natalio Wheatley

By: Davina Ramdass 

As CARICOM embarks on an initiative to review existing teaching standards, a recommendation has been made for there to be a higher threshold set for persons seeking to enter the profession.

Minister of Education in the British Virgin Islands, Natalio Wheatley made this suggestion Wednesday morning during the opening of consultation sessions at the Arthur Chung Conference Center in Guyana.

“We cannot expect students who are not properly learned to properly teach, so it is imperative to set a high threshold for those seeking to enter the profession as is the case with law and medicine,” the BVI Minister told a gathering of regional education personnel.

“If one would not want a C student operating on their body, one should not tolerate a C student operating on the young minds of the nation,” Minister Wheatley said.

Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture Minister of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) Natalio Wheatley

The BVI Minister emphasised that teachers must also be equipped with special skills, to cater for all types of students.

“Teachers must be equipped to teach students who are not only visual learners, but who learn through doing, who are tactile and auditory. Teachers must learn to use technology to enhance the learning experience. Teachers must be trained in identifying students who have learning disabilities and recommend them for support services as necessary.”

Representing Guyana on this front was Chief Education Officer (CEO) Marcel Hutson, who underscored the importance of setting these higher standards.

“Standards for teachers or teacher educators are paramount. Why? Teacher educators are strategically positioned to serve as catalysts for the required change in the education delivery and outcomes,” Hutston stated.

Marcel Hutson

As a consequence, the CEO noted that these persons must be able to model teaching that demonstrates content, professional knowledge, skills and the dispositions which reflect research, proficiency with technology and accepted best practices.

The consultation event is being undertaken as part of a series of workshops being done in five regions internationally to acquire input from key education stakeholders including teachers, teacher organisations, education planners, teaching regulatory councils, teacher educators, and researchers.

Participants will be asked to review and comment on a guidance framework and suggest ways in which it can be refined as well as recommend approaches for local adaptations.