Some two hundred-plus teachers have joined the public school system and were officially welcomed to the Department of Education during an Orientation Exercise at Uriah McPhee Primary School, Kemp Road. From Wednesday, August 22 thru Thursday, August 23, the newly-appointed teachers will participate in workshop sessions and panel discussions on topics such as A Mindset Reset – Profile of a Novice Teacher, From Policy to Pedagogy… Best Practices in your Professional Profile, The Voice of the Novice Teacher, Curriculum Development and Instruction, Important Management & Protocol Practices, Human Resource Matters, and Health, Wellness and Financial Matters. Director of Education, Marcellus Taylor, told the new teachers that their impact on the nation’s youth is “significant” particularly since there is a “major” positive correlation between an effective teacher and high student achievement. He applauded them for taking up the mantle to prepare the children for the future.
Mr. Taylor said the Ministry of Education (MOE) is adamant about obtaining its Wildly Important Goal (WIG), to increase the high school graduation rate from 50 percent to 85 percent. “The future of our country hinges on the development of our young people. They are looking to us as models for their own lives. For many, the teacher’s influence is key to shaping the course of their lives. With that factor in mind, we must be mindful to maintain a disposition that is generally good, regardless of our human imperfections,” said the Director. He encouraged them to continue to seek out opportunities to increase their knowledge base. “We must have teachers who recognize the importance of and participate in lifelong learning. Please also be mindful that there is much to benefit from seeking wise counsel from those who have gone on before you. Senior teachers and administrators have amassed a wealth of knowledge and a new teacher would benefit much from tapping into this reservoir, while at the same time assisting the MOE in fulfilling its vision of creating “nation builders who are globally competitive.” Teachers, we are counting on you to help us accomplish this vision.”
Lorraine Armbrister, Permanent Secretary, who presented on behalf of the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd, Minister of Education, referred to several initiatives that the MOE is embarking on to assist in accomplishing WIG. Among them is the increase in the Ministry’s scholarship funds for teachers to obtain Master’s and Ph.D. degrees. “You are entering this field at an exciting time. You will have more chances to take advantage of a variety of lifelong learning opportunities, and I encourage you to avail yourselves of these opportunities,” said Mrs. Armbrister. Providing a solid foundation to ensure academic success at the pre-primary level is another strategy the Ministry is incorporating to increase the graduation rate of students. “Many of you today will be joining us as pre-primary teachers. Please be aware that pre-primary education is a priority area of the MOE. “By 2022, the Ministry hopes to increase the percentage of three and four-year-old pre-school attendance from the current 30 percent to 75 percent. To this end, there will be an expansion of the 22 government pre-schools in New Providence with the addition of a pre-school at Thelma Gibson Primary, and a planned expansion onto Buttonwood Pre-school. The goal is to expand the growth of government pre-schools while working with private-public partnerships. Meantime, the Ministry plans to increase the number of pre-school spaces by 1000 annually.”
Furthermore, the MOE has also embarked on a programme to improve literacy and numeracy skills at the primary level and is offering additional remediation classes that will allow students who fail to satisfy the BJC graduation requirements in grade 9 to sit the subjects in grades 10 through 12. Mrs. Armbrister told the educators that the MOE is counting on all of them to play their part in creating a learning environment that will enable students to reach their full potential. She encouraged them to remain dedicated to their calling to inspire the next generation to succeed. The theme for the Orientation is “Understanding the Whole Picture, Imagining the Finished Product”.