(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown) AMBASSADOR Irwin LaRocque, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General, has urged teachers gathered in Georgetown for the 36th Biennial Conference of the Caribbean Union of Teachers, to place emphasis on teaching standards to meet demands for a competent workforce in the Community.
In a message to the conference, which opened yesterday at the Princess Hotel, Providence, Secretary-General LaRocque said, “Our Community needs a workforce that is healthy, competent, and literate, with strong basic skills and which can adapt to a rapidly changing labour market and technological world.”
As a consequence, he stated that there was need for “more than passing assurance” that persons functioning as teachers are certified to teach, thoroughly prepared, and maintained performance standards.
“This assurance can be ascertained through the introduction of a set of measures that will enable the regulation and management of quality within a framework of professional teaching standards and, consequently, improve status of the teaching profession,” Secretary-General LaRocque stated.
Teacher career policies and programmes stimulating the profession, the provision of incentives to attract the best prospective candidates, established entry-level professional standards, and certification and licensing in accordance with established professional standards were among the specific measures he suggested.
Noting that the principal requirement in the effort to bring teaching more in line with other established professions was a deliberate focus on the quality of teachers and their teaching, the Secretary-General added that teachers’ quality was a direct outcome of continuing professional education.