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Education

More Scholarships, Active Recruitment & Succession Planning needed in Teaching say former TCI Education Officials  

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff writer,  

 

 

#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.

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Education

1 World Foundation Impactful Visit to support children across the Turks & Caicos Islands.

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May 21, 2024

 

The Department of Special Education Needs Services (SENS) of the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, and Culture is proud to announce the successful completion of a comprehensive screening initiative led by the dedicated 1 World team. Over the course of their visit, the team provided invaluable assessments and support to 55 children under the age of 8, across the islands of Grand Turk, South Caicos, North and Middle Caicos, and Providenciales.

The 1 World Foundation’s mission was to address various referral concerns, ensuring early detection and intervention for developmental and educational needs. Their work has significantly contributed to the well-being and future success of our young learners.

Director of SENS department, Dr. Anya Malcolm-Gibbs, expressed heartfelt gratitude for the team’s dedication: “We are immensely grateful for the 1 World team’s commitment to our children. They have provided services to this country over several years, and their expertise and compassion have provided critical support to our families. I wish to commend our Coordinator of Assessments, Mrs. Lashaunda Skippings, who spearheaded the initiative and ensured a smooth and effective visit.” Commenting on the program, Mrs. Skippings noted, “The assessments conducted by the 1 World team have been transformative for our children. By identifying specific needs early, we can tailor our interventions to better support each child’s unique development journey. This initiative has brought hope and clarity to many families across our islands.”

Minister of Education, Hon. Rachel Taylor, praised the initiative and its outcomes: “The visit of the 1 World team marks a significant step forward in our commitment to inclusive education. Their work aligns perfectly with our vision of providing comprehensive supports to all students, ensuring no child is left behind. We are dedicated to continuing this partnership and building on the progress made.”

During their visit, the 1 World team also engaged in a productive courtesy call with the Minister of Education, the Permanent Secretary Mrs. Cherylann Jones, and the Director of SENS. The meeting with the CEO of the 1 World Foundation provided an opportunity to discuss future collaborations and reinforce our shared commitment to the children of Turks and Caicos Islands.

This initiative exemplifies the power of partnership and the profound impact that dedicated professionals can have on the lives of children. The Department of Special Education Needs Services looks forward to continuing this important work and building a brighter future for all our students. For more information, please contact the department on sens@gov.tc.

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Education

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION, YOUTH, SPORTS, AND CULTURE STRENGTHENS EARLY INTERVENTION INITIATIVES WITH TRAINING FOR K1 AND SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, 20th May 2024 – On Friday, 17th May 2024, the Special Education Needs Officer of the Education Department, Mrs. Faiada James, organized a pivotal training opportunity for K1 and Special Education teachers from across the Turks & Caicos Islands. This training, facilitated by the Coordinator Assessments, Mrs. Lashaunda Skippings, underscores the Ministry of Education’s commitment to enhancing early intervention strategies within the education system.

The training initiative provided educators with comprehensive sessions on General Soft Skills for Screening Exercises, followed by hands-on training for the administration of the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ). The ASQ is a developmental screening tool designed to identify children’s strengths and areas where they may need additional support. It evaluates five key areas: communication, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, problem-solving, and personal-social skills. Early intervention facilitated by the ASQ is crucial as it allows for timely identification of developmental delays, enabling educators and parents to provide targeted support and resources. This proactive approach significantly enhances children’s developmental outcomes, paving the way for their future academic and social success.

“The training was an enriching experience for our teachers,” stated Mrs. Faiada James. “We are equipping our educators with the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively identify and support the developmental needs of our youngest learners. This initiative is a crucial step in our commitment to providing inclusive education for all.” The training was also attended by the Teacher Development and Training Education Officer, Dr. Keran Williams, and Early Childhood Education Officer, Ms. Heidi Williams.

Mrs. Lashaunda Skippings emphasized the importance of this tool, stating, “The Ages and Stages Questionnaire is instrumental in our early intervention efforts. By identifying developmental delays early, we can implement strategies and support systems that significantly improve a child’s developmental trajectory. This training ensures that our teachers are well-prepared to utilize the ASQ effectively.”

As part of the Ministry’s ongoing efforts to refresh and reinforce the use of screening tools in schools, all students entering K1 this September will undergo developmental screening using the ASQ. This initiative reflects the overall commitment to ensuring that every child has the best possible start to their educational journey. Director of Special Education Needs Services, Dr. Anya Malcolm-Gibbs, remarked, “seeing such a strong turnout of 30 teachers from across TCI is truly inspiring. Early screening and intervention are key components of our strategy to provide comprehensive support.”

Minister of Education, Hon. Rachel Taylor concluded, “I am immensely proud of the dedication shown by our educators. The ASQ training exemplifies our commitment to ensuring that every child in the Turks and Caicos Islands can succeed. By identifying and addressing developmental delays early, we are laying a strong foundation for the future of our children and our nation.”

The Ministry of Education is dedicated to fostering an inclusive and supportive learning environment. By equipping our teachers with the necessary skills and tools, we are taking significant steps towards improving educational outcomes for all students, particularly those with special needs. This training underscores the collective effort to improve early childhood education and ensure that all children in the Turks and Caicos Islands have access to the support they need to thrive.

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Education

SCU AND TCICC STRENGTHEN HOSPITALITY IN THE CARIBBEAN  ~Using industry knowledge to train and develop ~ 

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The Sandals Corporate University (SCU) continues to strengthen its reach and impact in the Caribbean and, in doing so, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College (TCICC). This twoyear agreement will assist the TCICC in strengthening its Hospitality and Tourism programme to build local capacity and develop leadership in the industry from within the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The MoU signing is the second of its kind for the SCU in the region, following a recent agreement with the UWI Global Campus. Held at the Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort Villages and Spa, the ceremony was attended by the Premier of Turks and Caicos, the Hon. Charles Washington Misick, Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, the Hon. Rachel Taylor, Minister of Tourism, Environment, Heritage, Maritime, Gaming and Disaster Management, the Hon. Josephine Connolly, Executive Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, Adam Stewart, President/CEO of TCICC, Dr. Candice Williams along with other dignitaries and leaders from both SCU and TCICC.

In his keynote address, Honourable Misick articulated the vision behind the partnership between the two entities. “The partnership between Sandals Corporate University and the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College was conceived with the vision of strengthening the local workforce. In under four months, we’ve made remarkable progress. By elevating educational standards and creating job opportunities, we’re not just enhancing the Human Development Index (HDI) for the Turks and Caicos; we’re building a more efficient economy.

“As we embark on this partnership with Sandals Corporate University, we recognise its transformative potential for our students and our country. Through collaboration, innovation, and shared expertise, we will enhance the quality of education and training and create pathways for our students to excel in their careers and become leaders in the industry,” noted Dr. Candice Williams.

In his remarks, Mr. Stewart affirmed the significant role of Sandals Corporate University (SCU) in the region, encouraging team members to embrace it as a catalyst for personal growth and self-improvement. He also commended the partnership with SCU and TCICC, noting “SCU’s commitment to providing internships annually is just a fraction of the exciting opportunities available through this collaboration.”

Honourable Taylor praised the partnership, adding that it represents “a visionary initiative aimed at harnessing our collective strengths to bolster a sector that is vital to our economy. As we formalise this agreement today, we are planting seeds for a future that holds unparalleled opportunities for our students, educators, and the hospitality industry at large.”

The SCU will also work with the TCICC to identify subject matter experts from Sandals and Beaches Resorts who will be willing to give guest lectures, provide input into the curriculum being developed for the TCICC’s Hospitality and Tourism Management programmes and provide opportunities to promote enrolment of Sandals and Beaches team members in relevant programmes offered at the TCICC.

Additionally, the SCU will endeavour to facilitate the placement of up to 100 interns from TCICC within Sandals and Beaches Resorts per year for work experience and a formal Internship programme for students at various levels. Lastly, the SCU will, where possible, provide the opportunity for TCICC students’ international certifications through their partnerships with accrediting bodies in all aspects of hospitality management and technical related areas

 

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