From left: Principal of??Erdiston Teachers Training College, Barbara Parris; Chief Education Officer, Laurie King; Chairman of??Erdiston Teachers Training College, Professor Dr. Pedro Welch and Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, share a light moment after the opening ceremony. (A. Miller/BGIS)??

Over 300 teachers, from primary and secondary schools across the island, have enrolled in programmes of study at the Erdiston Teachers Training College, and they have been told to work hard, plan their work and stay focused.

Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones made this appeal today as he addressed the opening ceremony to mark the start of the academic year 2011-2012, at the College.

While noting that the programmes would prove "tough" and "testing", he told the trainees: "Even though many of you have been in the classroom for several years, Erdiston is going to teach you how to teach. So, any preconceived notions about how good you are, rid your minds of those notions because you are going to go through an exercise which will test your own personal resolve."

Expressing faith in them, nonetheless, Mr. Jones told them, "You are bright. You will not fail, there is always that opportunity for every single person to succeed, and if you apply yourself, success would be yours."??

The Minister noted that education was going through a transformation and told the trainees that their stint at the College called for them to look to the future in education, and to ensure young students through them would be able to optimise their talents and become properly moulded.

As he pointed out that teachers were at the epicenter of the nation, despite others such as doctors and lawyers working for more money, the former educator said the reward which teachers got was through "the satisfaction when we are able to change lives in fundamental ways".??????

The Erdiston College and teachers in training were also told they would help to fill the void left by those moving into retirement.?? Minister Jones said:?? "…There is the recognition that some persons are moving on [retiring] and that we have to fill the space by bright, talented, young people, and I am proud to see that they are coming forward to education."

"Good young men and women stepping forward to education. Good young people of Barbados stepping up to the plate. More will come because over the next few years we will have more and more persons moving from education because they have reached the age of retirement."

Staff at the Erdiston College heard that the institution would soon undergo some refurbishment that would include an expanded library and an auditorium. And, Minister Jones expressed the view that some trainees would feature in the overall

project to transform the College. "When that is completed, or before, we are going to make this into an education campus of some worth. Erdiston has the capability to really step forward and to transform education," he stressed.

Trainees were themselves urged to inculcate "all of the attributes of lifelong learning", to constantly refresh themselves and the Minister reiterated his belief that those in the profession should continue to write and publish text books, workbooks and novels.


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