The Teacher is a transformative force: Barbados Minister

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The Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Barbados, has recently embarked on the Education Transformation Agenda – a new strategy aimed at ensuring “A Bright Future For Every Child.” The proposed curriculum reforms have implications for learner assessment, as well as teacher training and professional development, among other provisions.

The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) recently responded by conducting a workshop at Erdiston Teachers’ Training College. This was a visioning exercise to discuss the current status of technology-enabled learning at the College and the potential offered by open and distance learning (ODL) in expanding the quality and reach of teacher training.

The Minister of State, the Honourable Ms Sandra Husbands addressed the participants and expressed appreciation for the work of COL in supporting teacher development.

The Honourable Minister referred to the role of a teacher as not just educational but also a transformative force in the lives of students, adding that the contributions made by teachers to young lives play a crucial role in determining their quality of life later on. She said, “Teaching is one of the most rewarding careers as teachers live through the lives of those they transform. As educators, find your place in service and give it your best. This will create a pathway of influence where your efforts make a big difference in the society.”

The workshop, attended by 20 tutors from the college, identified various areas of need to adapt innovative approaches in training teachers. These included policy and course development as well as capacity building in OER and other aspects of open, distance and technology-enabled learning, including Artificial Intelligence.

COL’s Education Specialist, Teacher Education, Dr Betty Ogange facilitated the workshop, having held consultative meetings with the COL Focal Point, Dr Ramona Archer-Bradshaw, and senior officials in the education sector. Dr Ogange said, “Embracing technology in education is not merely about utilising new tools but more about creating an environment of continuous learning and innovation, thereby empowering educators to meet the evolving needs of their learners in a rapidly changing world.”

The Deputy Principal of the College, Mr Francis Thompson, thanked COL for the resources made available for teacher training and professional development.

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