The new Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) Programme (Primary), to be delivered from this September at Erdiston Teachers’ Training College, will offer the 183 students enrolled opportunities to utilise new approaches in education.
Acting Principal, Dr. Patricia Saul, stated this on Wednesday at the Pine Hill, St. Michael institution, as the B.Ed. was officially launched along with the Vocational Teachers’ Training Programme in Adult Education.
She said skills for today’s world would be incorporated, including effective communication, personal and interpersonal skills, problem solving, critical thinking, values and integrity, and the ability to utilise technology effectively.
Dr. Saul, who was responsible for coordinating the four-year B.Ed., noted that it was “a momentous occasion for the college”, with the programme designed to cater to untrained teachers, persons wishing to enter the profession and to facilitate professional development of trained teachers who do not yet possess a degree.
While acknowledging that the commencement of it would see Erdiston attaining degree status, she stressed: “This is an achievement we do not take lightly, for we remain cognisant of the fact that the quality of teacher training is a decisive factor in achieving educational improvement and national development.”
Accepting that the challenge for Erdiston was to overcome the traditional training model, which was successful in its time but was now obsolete, she said it now had to adopt approaches congruent with emerging global trends in education.
“We launch these programmes today against a background of a more diverse student population, more complex classroom environments, changing demands of the workforce, advancements in technology and changes in value systems worldwide,” she stated.
The Acting Principal stressed the need for a paradigm shift and pointed out that the approach required a review of curricular frameworks, teaching and learning contents, pedagogy, teaching practices and assessment procedures.
With respect to the latter, she said the general consensus in educational research was for more emphasis on performance-based assessment, rather than traditional pen and paper tests.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Board of Management, Dr. Leah Garner-O’Neale, in welcoming the B.Ed., urged the first cohort to recognise it was not just another degree.
She said: “At the end of this degree, you will not just be a teacher, but you should be a professional teacher. But beyond that, teaching should become your vocation… In order for it to become your vocation, your entire heart, soul and being have to be dedicated to enhancing our entire environment by engaging our young Barbadians in the learning process.”