New JTA president calls for greater investment in teacher training and community colleges
If his inaugural address as the 52nd president of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) is anything to go by, it appears Howard Isaacs will be using his tenure as leader of the union body to address the issues of teacher training.
For Isaacs, teacher training lies at the heart of the structural issues facing the education system and is an area he believes has been ignored for much too long.
"In the last 25 years, our training colleges have survived without much capital investment in our infrastructure. We have constructed classrooms, laboratories, dormitories, multi-purpose halls and renovated facilities by the prudent management of limited funds and resources," he said in his address, which received a standing ovation.
He further contended that student performance will be transformed when teacher preparation is of the highest quality. According to the newly installed JTA president, there needs to be a review of teacher preparation as there are gaps in the process which affect the outcomes of the education system.
Describing teachers' colleges as the front end of teacher training, he called on Education Minister Ruel Reid, who was present at his investiture ceremony, to increase support and resources for the colleges.
"Honourable minister, we are the front end of training teachers. Resource the colleges, support our initiatives, and we will ensure such sustainability as we continue the journey in the 21st century," he said.
Isaacs, who served as principal of the multidisciplinary Moneague College before being appointed JTA president, also issued a clarion call for community colleges to be supported.
"We recognise the constraints facing us as a country. However, I renew the call for opportunities to be created for our colleges to access funds that will strengthen our programme offerings and further develop our services to our clients and staff," he added.