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Explore new approach to education - Leny

Published:Wednesday | January 13, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Philip Hamilton, Gleaner Writer

Tom Leny, head of the London-based UK Qualifications and Curriculum Development Authority's International Unit, talks with Dr Rose Davies (left), chairman of Joint Board of Teacher Education, and Sonia Bennett-Cunningham, director principal, VTDI, at the opening of the annual professional development conference for lecturers at teacher-training institutions. The conference was held on Monday. - Rudolph Brown/Photographer

JAMAICAN EDUCATORS have been challenged to adopt competence-based education and training systems in keeping with current global trends instead of solely relying on traditional methods.

Tom Leny, head of the London-based UK Qualifications and Curriculum Development Authority's (QCDA) International Unit, said several factors within a changing world were forcing educators to rethink traditional approaches to education.

According to Leny, these factors included the move towards a knowledge society, a shift to lifelong learning, a higher skills economy and new opportunities and threats.

"The direction towards a higher skills economy is undoubtedly something educators will have to face up to. Just think of tourism. The traditional days of big operators bringing in people in large groups as tourists to the country haven't gone, but other things are happening," he said.

New skills and hospitality

"This means local networks have to be very sharp and savvy, develop new skills and hospitality, and encourage people to come to the country for different kinds of holidays than what we're used to," Leny added.

His comments came yesterday at the Joint Board of Teacher Education's annual professional development conference, held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston.

The QCDA head said changing global trends required increasingly successful learners with knowledge skills and attitudes needed for learning, life and work, as well as qualifications demonstrating these competencies.

He noted that several countries were currently reviewing traditional learning methods that focused on a single, best way to learn, in favour of an active approach, where much learning was independent of someone passing on expert knowledge.

Leny, however, acknowledged that acceptance of the competence-based education and training was not without challenges.

He conceded that in Europe, where technical and vocational education training led the way towards competence-based approaches, certain areas, such as upper secondary as well as general higher academic education, were resistant to change.