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Jan 31, 2002

Teachers still scoring low on tests

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The results of the First Class National Teacher’s Examination are in. Of the two hundred and eighty-eight teachers who sat the exam, only sixty-six were successful, which, believe it or not, represents an increase in performance over last year when two hundred and fourteen took the exam and only twenty-five passed. According to Programme Director, Gilroy Middleton, teachers are tested in nine subject areas: English, mathematics, science, literature, history, geography, methods and management, psychology and practice teaching.

Gilroy Middleton, Programme Dir., Teacher Dev. Training

“This exam is for teachers who are presently teaching in the classroom, but these are teacher that might not have had the opportunity to go to high school, or they completed high school but did not do CXC. So, this is an upgrading of content for them to enter the University of Belize, to do teacher training. The replacement for this exam would be to have three CXC’s at the general level, which would be the basic requirement to enter into the University for teacher training.

There has been an improvement compared to last year when we look at the statistics, about thirteen passed percent last year and this year about thirty percent. So, there has been some improvement.

The one area that we’re concerned about is literature, only about twenty-five percent of the teachers were successful in literature. And the reason for this is that literature entails a lot of reading and comprehension, and dealing with things like analysing poems, looking at the mood and so forth, and also comparing stories and trying to look for themes and conflict. we find that a lot of the teachers are not reading. So, we’re hoping that for the next two times that the exams would be given, we would like to encourage the teachers to buy the books and read. And we would want to co-ordinate training programmes at the district level, so that all the teachers could get into training and be successful in this exam.”

There will be two more sittings of the First Class National Teacher’s Exam in August and December before it is officially phased out by 2003.

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