Education ministry needs to change mindset about PEP
Registrar of the University of the West Indies, Mona, Dr Camille Bell-Hutchinson, is urging the Ministry of Education to put more emphasis on getting teachers ready to deliver the content of the Primary Exit Profile (PEP), warning that their mindset at present is not in line with the requirement of the assessment.
Bell-Hutchinson, speaking at a breakfast seminar for principals at the Mona Visitors' Lodge in St Andrew last week, said that while she supports the PEP, the ministry runs the risk of effectively only renaming the current Grade Six Achievement Test, thus failing the broader objectives, which include the drive to increase critical thinking among students.
"As we talk about PEP and as we talk about all these wonderful things, we have to understand that even if we introduce it, if our teachers and principals don't understand any of it and are unable to transform and be transformers, then we won't be any different from when we have GSAT," she said.
Help educators make transition
The registrar, a mathematics educator and former chief examiner at the Caribbean Examination Council, argued that teachers who will be tasked to deliver the content for the PEP are used to GSAT and their mindset will not change overnight.
Bell-Hutchinson said teachers must be facilitated to help them transition into the new era of education where a modern methodology of teaching is required.
"Unless we begin to have a continuous professional development strategy, PEP is going to make no difference to our students, because the teachers themselves need to understand that methodology, and they don't," she said.
To help address these problems, the UWI practicum programme, through the Faculty of Humanities and Education, has been revamped and soon students in the programme will be delivering content in a way which the campus administrator believes will facilitate 21st-century learning.
"The teachers which we are sending out to you are going to be coming with these new methodologies," Bell-Hutchinson told principals at the seminar.