Specialist teachers to be assigned to primary schools

Minister of Education, Youth and Information Fayval Williams says that the ministry is looking to move from the generalist teaching model in primary schools to a specialist system.

“We will begin this transition by having specialist teachers in our worst performing schools as identified by the National Education Inspectorate (NEI),” she said.

Williams, who was making her contribution to the 2021/22 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, said that the specialist model is part of measures to improve effectiveness in the classroom.

She noted that at present one teacher is responsible for all subject areas, including mathematics, reading, writing, language arts, social studies, science, drama, art, religious education, civics, resource and technology, physical education, music, Spanish, among others.

Williams said that the NEI, in its latest report, indicated that there are 202 primary schools that are ranked unsatisfactory and two that are ranked in need of immediate support in teacher effectiveness.

She further cited the deployment of the master teacher concept across the education system as another strategy to increase teacher effectiveness and student learning in the classroom.

“We have a pool of master teachers available to classroom teachers. They can rove virtually now that we have the technology. We need to create the schedule and iron out the logistics. This master teacher concept exists currently, but the ministry has been tepid or lukewarm in its implementation,” Williams said.

She noted that “the master teacher works and so we must deploy it across the education system with urgency and make it sustainable”.

The education minister said there is also need to “develop a model to give professional development credit for teaching mathematics at the primary level. I have asked the Jamaica Teaching Council to flesh this out”.

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