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PM Gonsalves proposes an Office of Standards in Education

PM Gonsalves proposes an Office of Standards in Education

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A body to guide the monitoring and assessment of the quality of teaching may soon be established in the Ministry of Education.{{more}}

The suggestion for the proposed Office of Standards in Education was disclosed by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, during a lecture he presented last Wednesday, November 2, at the Methodist Church Hall, as part of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College’s lecture series.

The Prime Minister, who spoke on the theme: “Education and Independence in the Twenty-First Century”, said that an office of this kind would benefit and improve the quality of teaching, and by extension, learning in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and would address concerns when it comes to educational management.

“From a policy standpoint, I consider that, at a minimum, the following principles be applied:

An open and transparent system for monitoring and assessment of teaching be put in place; precise criteria of monitoring and assessment be drawn up; monitoring and assessment ought to be done internally at the school level, through a peer review system and possibly involving parents and students; the internal monitoring and assessment be bolstered by periodic assessments by an external referent….”

The Prime Minister also suggested that the Ministry of Education, teachers, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union, parents, community and the relevant students be engaged jointly in the process of monitoring and assessment and that the monitoring and assessment results be used as one of the criteria directed towards rewards, promotion, professional advancement or correction.

He also suggested that the schools in which teachers teach, also be assessed.

“After all, the individual teachers do not function in a vacuum…. The school assessment must be done along similar lines and in accordance with similar principles as for the monitoring and assessment of teaching.”

Gonsalves, who spoke at length on teachers and teaching during his delivery, claimed that his administration has invested immensely in teachers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, since they took office ten years ago.

“Undoubtedly, the teachers are better trained, formally than ever before; and practically all of them in the classrooms have been trained.

By and large, the physical environment and the teaching facilities or tools available have been dramatically improved over the past ten years. So too, have been salaries, bonuses, allowances, benefits, terms and conditions for teachers’ employment.

“Of course, as always, further enhancements would be worthwhile and deserving, but the financial constraints of a small island developing economy are undoubtedly felt. Still, every teacher is far better off today materially than in 2000….”

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