More Scholarships, Active Recruitment & Succession Planning needed in Teaching say former TCI Education Officials
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, March 15, 2023 – It’s time to reduce scholarships for the other disciplines and put that money towards training teachers. The decisive advice came from Dr. Carlton Mills, educational, professional, and cool author of the book ‘The Turks and Caicos: Our Island, Our Heritage,’ while he spoke at a recent expert panel on teacher retention in the Turks and Caicos organized by the Department of Education.
“I would go overboard and recommend that at least 60 or 70 percent of the funds allocated for scholarships be allocated for teacher training. We could put professions like the legal professions and some of the other areas on hold for a moment. Let’s make teacher education, a top priority,” he demanded. Mills said the reason for this was that we needed our local students to stay home instead of trying to recruit others.
“Yes, we have to think about retention, but we also have to think about continuity; we need to start recruiting locally, embarking on a serious local campaign to attract locals into the teacher education programs.” He maintained.
He was supported in his assessment by Lucille Wilson, educator and former Head of the Civil Service Association.
“We’re not anti-expat” she began, “But we have to look at the real truth. Some of them don’t come here to be retained, they’re on a contract. They’re looking to go somewhere else; they don’t want to live in the Caribbean, so how do we retain them?”
Wilson agreed that going local and convincing TCI students to stay home was the best bet.
“We have to seriously look at retaining young people who are here— I know we’re gonna have to bring in some, but the fact is we have to retain our own and until we come to that knowledge, our system will feel like it’s failing.”
Several things Wilson said the Government had to do to begin seriously retaining their own was to make teaching attractive for students because, ‘right now they didn’t even want to hear about it’. She recommended experience programs that put highschoolers in the classroom.
“See if you can convince 20 or 50 students for the year, we have 400 graduating each year,” she said. “See if we can get 100 of them into the classroom and it will increase their love for the profession. Bring the children in now,” she urged.
Also important to teacher retention, Mills said, was an incentive program for teachers, created back in 2006 and passed at Cabinet, then seemingly forgotten. The document which he had helped create, had comprehensively addressed succession planning; the classification levels of teachers; concessions for teachers; types of allowances; salaries; professional development; and more.
“The policy makers did not take it any further,” he said, holding up a copy.
“By now had they worked on this document and improved on it we probably would’ve had a proper incentives package for our teachers,” he added.
The Turks and Caicos has a continuing teacher retention problem that has affected both students and teachers negatively, piling on more pressure on the remaining educators and leaving students without teachers.
The expert panel was convened as part of the Education Week events, held March 6-10 in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Work of NAECOB critical in ensuring high standards in education, says Minister Hanna-Martin
Bahamas Golden Jubilee Events Announced, Celebrations Across 33 Islands & Cays
#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – As the 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence approaches, Bahamians everywhere are teeming with excitement and expectancy around the year-long celebrations set by The National Independence Secretariat.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister joined H.E Leslia Miller Brice, Chair of The National Independence Secretariat to unveil the Calendar of Events for the 50th Independence celebrations.
The calendar comprises a host of events, initiatives and recommendations for celebrations throughout all 33 islands of The Bahamas.
At this jubilant occasion the PM stated, “Celebrating independence is about acknowledging the greatness around us, the greatness within us, and the greatness ahead of us.
We are Bahamians. That identity is special.”
View the newly released calendar of events here:
JAMAICA: 12,362 Seniors Registered Under New Social Pension Programme
#Kingston, March 28, 2023 – There are currently 12,362 seniors registered under the Government’s new Social Pension Programme.
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Karl Samuda, made the disclosure during the sitting of the Standing Finance Committee of the House on March 2, at Gordon House.
The initiative targets all Jamaican citizens 75 years and older who are not currently in receipt of a pension (overseas or local) or any other retirement, old-age or disability benefit or regular income, and are not living in a government institutionalised care facility.
“We are evaluating the manner in which we qualify persons to go on the programme. This is a discussion we will have to have, as some people fall through the cracks simply because they might have a refrigerator, or they might be lucky enough to have a television at home,” Mr. Samuda said.
“The direction in which we are heading, to have those things, does not move you from poverty to prosperity. So, the Government has an obligation to do everything possible to improve their quality of life, and so we will be looking at that,” the Minister added.
Mr. Samuda said between March 2022 and January 2023, the programme disbursed $446 million.
To register for the social pension programme, persons may visit any of the Ministry’s parish offices islandwide.
They will be required to complete a social pension application form, accompanied by their Tax Registration Number (TRN), National Insurance Scheme (NIS) card, and proof of age in the form of a birth certificate or a valid passport.
They should also take along a valid identification (ID), such as a driver’s licence, passport or voter’s ID, proof of bank account and any other document that may be required to process the application, for example, proof of citizenship.
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