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10% of educators underperforming - Reid

Published:Saturday | September 16, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Students at B.B. Coke High School in Junction, St Elizabeth, hard at work.
Students from the downtown Kingston-based Calabar All-Age School carry a desk-bench combination to their classroom at the beginning of the 2017 school year.

Some 10 per cent of Jamaican educators are performing below standard and the education ministry is urgently looking at strategies that will bring them up to par with their more successful colleagues.

In an interview with The Gleaner at his offices in central Kingston, Education Minister Ruel Reid shared that currently, there are about 20 per cent of high-performing teachers, 70 per cent who are operating satisfactorily, and 10 per cent who are below average.

"It is not unique to the education sector. Those are a combination of persons who need professional development and persons who need management. That is why, through NCEL (The National College for Educational Leadership), we are empowering principals to hold teachers accountable," he said.

A critical remedy to this issue, Reid believes, is the implementation of the Jamaica Teaching Council (JTC) bill.

The bill proposes to establish a governing body for teachers and sets out a mechanism for their licensing and registration. The legislation also proposes to empower the council to suspend or cancel the registration of a teacher under certain circumstances.

"The JTC bill also will be a very good instrument to better hold teachers accountable, because what will happen is that not only will you need to have the requisite professional certification to practise in the profession, but in order to renew your licence, you would have to demonstrate your proficiency over the years," he said.




"For you to drive the kind of performance, you have to have a strong performance-management system. That is why legislation is going to be a big part of this transformation."

He said many issues rest with poor management, and, as such, that will be a major focus going forward.

"The truth is, in terms of action taken against teachers, I have never seen a successful case. In fact, I am not even aware that there has been any charge against any teacher for student outcome," he said.

"You can build in[to] your system performance management that puts pressure on teachers, which says that these are the things you need to do and do them very well. What was lacking in the system is having the kind of principals who are trained in leadership and management."