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May 13, 2014

Senior educators converge to discuss the state of teaching services

Senior educators are meeting at the Belize Biltmore Plaza in a two day conference to discuss the state of teaching services. The theme is “Sustaining the twenty-first Century: Teachers Raising the Bar.” Presenters are both local and regional and the keynote speaker at the opening of the conference this morning was Professor Emeritus Errol Miller. The Minister of Education, Patrick Faber opened the conference with an announcement of a twenty million program to enhance teaching services. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The second biennial Teachers Education Conference saw educators from across the sector gather at the Biltmore this morning where they will attend a two-day seminar to examine current teacher education and development issues.  Organized by the Teacher Education and Development Services, the forum will allow for a revision and analysis of pertinent education research findings.

 

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

Patrick Faber

“There are those who believe still that you can get by without proper pedagogical training and there are those who would bet and try to go to great lengths to prove that those who don’t have professional pedagogical training can be as effective or in fact many of them try to point out that they are even more effective than teachers who have been trained in pedagogy.  And is it true that you can be effective in your classroom without pedagogical training?  Chances are yes, because as I have said time and time again, the art of teaching is not only the pedagogical training, it is having a heart for what you do, having a heart for the students firstly but also having a passion and a love for the work that you do.”

 

Addressing the gathering as keynote speaker was Professor Emeritus Errol Miller.  The Chancellor of Mico University College is the recipient of numerous awards for his contribution to education and public service.

 

Errol Miller

Prof. Errol Miller, Keynote Speaker

“The bar has been raised for teachers.  You can see it.  Now Belize is a little different from many of the countries in the Caribbean because you still have a growing school population.  In many of the countries of the region more children are leaving school than entering school.  Belize is not that.  You still have more students entering than leaving.  The population at both the primary and secondary level, our populations are growing.  That’s a good thing because the future is going to be for people who have more people and young people and not just older people who have young people to look after them.  So that may be a challenge.  But in addition to that, I note from the statistics that the level of professional training has, at the primary level, only increased modestly over the last say ten years, from fifty-two point one percent to fifty-six point four percent.”

 

Despite the moderate growth, the Ministry of Education is moving ahead with plans to roll out an extensive pedagogical program with counterpart funding from the IDB.

 

Patrick Faber

“There are other initiatives, of course, that the ministry is working on, a twenty million dollar teacher education program that we are currently negotiating with the Inter-American Development Bank, the IDB.  So there are great things to come and there is great support for the work that has already been started.  So it is an exciting time in the area of teacher education and in extension in education in general in this country, you know.  Let us not be the bearer of bad news and let us not be those that dampen the spirit.  This country is depending on successes in education to pull us out.  If you don’t believe me you read the budget figures and it will show you that this year twenty-eight percent of the national budget, twenty-eight percent of what is going to be spent in the recurrent expenditures this year is being spent on education.”

 

Presentations were also made on intercultural bilingual education programs and their implications on Belize. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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