The Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) on Friday held a professional seminar on The Role of Professional Standards in the Education System, in the College’s auditorium as the country and the wider Caribbean Community (CARICOM) move to craft such standards.
The main focus of this seminar was to facilitate extensive discussion on the broader concept of professional standards as well as the contextual framework within which such standards have been devised for the education system, along with the role and relevance of professional standards within the local context.
This seminar follows the Ministry’s efforts at developing a Draft Standards for Teacher Education, to further professionalize teaching and teachers in Guyana.
Making brief remarks at the opening of this seminar was the Honorable Minister of Education, Ms. Priya Manickchand, who underscored the importance of professionalizing the teaching profession, as Guyana aims to provide a higher quality of education to its citizens. “This move to professionalize the teaching profession, and to make standards and rules to guide us, should not be seen as limiting. In fact, this should be seen as the most liberating thing we can do, because, now we will have standards to which we should aim, rules by which we can work, and guidelines as to what we should become as teachers,” she was quoted as saying in a Ministry of Education release.
The Minister encouraged the policymakers gathered to ensure that they continue to work unremittingly to ensure that they complete Guyana’s Standards for Teacher Education, and move it from its draft stage with alacrity. “We must get on with the business of standardizing, professionalizing and making rules for this profession as a whole. Any delay will be detrimental and would only serve to stagnate the entire process. In moving forward, we must do so with all stakeholders on board.”
Leading the presentations at the seminar was Head of Programme Management, Human Resource Development, CARICOM, Dr. Morella Joseph, who presented on the topic, “Assessing Teacher Development: Development and Implementation of Professional Standards”. Dr. Joseph addressed the issue of establishing professional standards from a regional perspective. She spoke to a number of issues regarding the establishment and implementation of teaching standards in the regional education system, as well as the need for Guyana to align its teacher education standards with that of the region as CARICOM seeks to harmonize teaching standards throughout member states in the region.
Also making presentations were the Head of Graduate Studies, University of Guyana, Dr. Leyland Thompson who presented on the “Academic Justification for Professional Standards” and President of the Guyana Teachers Union, Mr. Colin Bynoe who dealt with “The Relevance of Professional Standards to Guyana’s Education System”.
The reasoning behind the establishment of professional standards in the education system is to establish the framework that will ensure teachers are adequately equipped to produce the highest quality of education in Guyana. It also provides a general description of the main dimensions of the roles of teaching and supporting learning within the education environment. Moreover, it is being written from the perspective of the practitioner, outlining a national framework for comprehensively recognizing and benchmarking teaching and learning support roles within the education system in Guyana.
The further professionalization of teaching and teachers in Guyana is intended to raise the status of the profession, enabling teachers to demonstrate appropriate levels of professional knowledge, professional practice and professional engagement. Stakeholders in the audience expressed deep satisfaction with the opportunity to participate in the discussion and committed themselves to ensuring that the process is completed successfully.