The Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) Programme (Primary) at Erdiston Teachers’ Training College “lays a new cornerstone for the future development of teacher education and preparation in Barbados”.
This sentiment was expressed at the launch of this programme on Wednesday, by Acting Minister of Education, Senator Harry Husbands, who highly recommended the Pine Hill, St. Michael institution to the 183 recruits.
Recounting the history of certificate and diploma programmes at the College, he said there was a consistent initiative in Barbados to restructure education in its entirety, and for Erdiston this included programme restructuring, new courses and physical redevelopment.
He added that the launch of the B.Ed. also marked the beginning of Erdiston’s move away from partnering with local and international institutions.
Also launched was the upgrade to the Vocational Teachers’ Training Programme in Adult Education. This will provide technical training for teachers at the secondary level, who are delivering instruction to students pursuing Caribbean Vocational Qualifications.
It will also provide training for instructors at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic and The Barbados Vocational Training Board.
Senator Husbands noted that Government, through its Human Resource Development Strategy, maintained a policy of building human capital through significant investments in education and training.
He said high priority continued to be placed on training and development of teachers at all levels and increasing emphasis had been on the development of nation building skills and life-long learning.
“Thus, teachers are encouraged to place greater focus on the constructivist approach to teaching and learning and on the development of creativity, critical thinking and problem solving. The integration of technology into the learning process is also being encouraged and facilitated,” he said.
Mr. Husbands suggested that in today’s changing world, the quality of teachers was linked to how they were prepared to perform their role.
He said they needed to be equipped with subject-specific expertise, effective teaching methodologies and the capacity to assist students to meet the demands of the 21st century.
He stressed: “They must be familiar with the new forms of information and communication technology and be able to use that technology to enhance the teaching and learning situation. Currently, all teachers are trained in Information Technology.”
Pointing out that Erdiston had evolved to meet the challenges, the Acting Education Minister said with the move towards inclusive education it had been forced to review its instructional practices to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.
He maintained it had been playing its part in the push to achieve a greener Barbados with teachers in training exposed to related education and teacher effectiveness, as well as encouraged to integrate knowledge, skills and attitudes into the teaching of subjects.
Speaking more specifically to the new B. Ed., Senator Husbands acknowledged that it was government’s intention for teachers to be trained before they enter the classroom.
And, he said: “In this regard, one cohort of the Bachelor of Education Programme will consist of persons who have chosen teaching as their career and who will be trained in both pedagogy and subject content before entering the classroom,”
Erdiston Teachers’ Training College was opened in January 1948, with 32 Barbadian students. By 1954, a significant milestone was reached, when it acquired the status of a regional teacher training institution, and in 1964, became a constituent of the School of Education, University of the West Indies.
It provides training programmes to serve the needs of teachers, other facilitators of learning and the wider public.