Witu wants teachers council established

POSTED: 12/18/14 10:54 PM

St. Maarten —A national teacher’s council on St. Maarten would be in the best interest of teachers, according to statements from head of the local teachers union Claire Elshot following the union’s participation in an education conference in Belize. The conference was organized by the Caribbean Union of Teachers, of which the Windward Islands Teachers Union (Witu) is an affiliate. Elshot noted that similar councils have been established on other Caribbean islands and that such councils are in keeping with advise from the Caribbean Secretariat. Elshot stressed that such a council must of course have teachers represented and not just persons who have never themselves been teachers. This council will, according to Elshot, maintain high standards in teaching at all levels of the education system.

“Since 2006 the Caribbean Secretariat has been making efforts to encourage national teachers’ council which will eventually culminate in the formation of a regional teacher’s council,” Elshot told members of the local media in a press conference on the heels of her return from Belize. She explained that several consultations with stakeholders in education have been held both on a national and regional level. There have also been several presentation and discussions among the Caribbean teachers on this subject.

“The rational for such an advanced move is that the governments of the region are aiming to transform the education system and to raise the standards in education. It’s a response to the need to have more teachers equipped to teach the subjects that they have responsibility for.  They also need to establish quality assurance of the system and to inform and improve the quality of teachers’ education and their professional development,” Elshot said.

Elshot believes that there is also a need to develop policies for these practices. She added that the establishing of the teachers councils is part of operationalizing the treaty of Chakaramus which advocates a mutual recognition of qualifications. This mutual recognition would allow teachers in the Caribbean to have their qualifications recognized by the sister islands. The Witu head said that this has already been discussed with previous ministers of education and the union intends to seek follow-up discussions with the in-coming minister of education.

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