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Teachers' colleges urged to enhance teaching methods

Published:Monday | February 6, 2017 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Commissioner of the Jamaica Tertiary Education Commission Maxine Henry-Wilson (right) converses with Imani Duncan-Price, co-executive director of the Caribbean Policy Research Institute, at a forum on financing tertiary education on the Mona campus of the the University of the West Indies last week.

Commissioner of the Jamaica Tertiary Education Commission Maxine Henry-Wilson has expressed concern about the ongoing challenge to get teachers' colleges to enhance their teaching methods and mode of operation in a bid to adapt to the changing times.

Speaking with The Gleaner following a forum hosted by the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI), the former education minister said that it is among several issues that she hopes to tackle as head of the tertiary commission.

The CaPRI forum addressed the topic, Who Writes the Cheque? Financing Tertiary Education in Jamaica.

"Our teacher's colleges particularly are in a not so good state because from about the 1980s, they have not had any fundamental infrastructural investment," Henry-Wilson said. "Even though we are talking about a new national school curriculum which is very forward-looking and progressive, our teachers are not the acquiring the knowledge, the skill or the competence to be able to deliver that curriculum," she said.

"That's an area we are also working on to see how we can now begin to align the curriculum in the schools with both the methodologies and the curriculum of the colleges, but that also takes investment," she continued.

"Those are the kinds of issues we have to confront if we want to see a modern state-of-the-art tertiary education sector," Henry-Wilson said.

She applauded efforts to focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects, but advised that it should not be narrowed to those areas.

"Our focus has to be on those areas because that's where the growth in the world is going to take place, but as has been repeated by industry people, even when you are talking about evolution, you have to understand history, you have to understand literature, and so we have to ensure that we don't narrow the focus of our students," Henry-Wilson said.