By George Alleyne
Barbados is rapidly moving towards having formally trained teachers in every tutoring position in the public schooling system, and there is data to show that this target is within reach of the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College.
According to acting Principal of the College, Patricia Saul, the signs are there that the number of untrained teachers within the education system is dwindling because the number of persons being enrolled for formal training is reducing each academic year.
As 55 teachers graduated last weekend from various courses offered by the College at its 2018 passing out ceremony Saul reported that fewer untrained teachers who re already in-service are being registered for the two basic teacher training courses.
She said that the ‘Diploma in Education, Primary,’ course saw a plunge from 77 in 2015-2016 to 28 the following academic year. The ‘Diploma in Education, Secondary,’ also witnessed a massive drop, moving from 74 in 2015-2016 to 52 in the following academic year.
“This reduction in enrolment might be an indication that the College’s attempts over the years to increase the number of trained teachers in the system are paying dividends,” Saul said.
“I have no doubt that with the introduction of the Bachelor of Education Programme, Primary, which facilitates the training of potential teachers before they enter the classroom, that in another three years the presence of untrained teachers at the primary level will be a phenomenon of the past because all potential teachers will access their training before entering the classroom.”
The announcement that the goal of having only properly certified persons teaching children in Barbados comes amidst the College’s observation of its 70th anniversary.
To mark this milestone the oldest known living teaching graduate of the College, 99-year-old Avis Carrington, passed on the torch of the College’s spirit, tradition, principles and values, to the youngest person in this year’s graduating class, 26-year-old Reneaka Whittaker.
Carrington, who will celebrate her 100th birthday this year, had enrolled at Erdiston Teachers’ Training College in 1951.
Since leaving she has been teaching the island’s children and retired only in 2010.
She was described as “a teacher extraordinaire who successfully managed her own school after leaving the public school system”.