Over 100 teachers will benefit from a one-week summer training workshop which is geared towards improving the quality of teaching and learning within the school system.
This includes training in Teacher Professional Development and Psycho-social support.
The series of workshops was officially launched at the Newtown Primary School on Monday.
“Besides the 100 teachers who will be trained this week, 80 others will receive training in Psycho-social support,” Chief Education Officer, Melena Fontaine revealed while addressing the opening ceremony.“If you remember, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria the ministry had to quickly organize for all teachers to receive a two-day training programme to prepare them to deliver Psycho-social support to their students on their return to school.”
Fontaine continued, “We did recognize that the two days were insufficient and as a result, we devise a strategy for getting all teachers to be trained to deliver Pysco-social to students in the aftermath of a disaster or crisis event.”
According to her, the preparation is such that in the absence of school, teachers will be able to provide Psycho-social support within their communities.
“This week the 80 teachers will be receiving training in psychological first aid and the Return to Happiness Psyco-social programme,” Fontaine stated.
She announced that UNICEF and IsraAID provided financial and technical support for this programme and the facilitators will be the psychologists from IsraAID and the counsellors from the Ministry of Education.
Furthermore; Fontaine stated that both groups of trainees will be expected to return to their schools in the new academic year to assist in training other teachers.
“A structure is already in place to enable schools to engage in school-based professional development on a regular basis,” she said.
Fontaine revealed that since September 18th 2017, everything that the Ministry of Education has been doing was affected by the passage of Hurricane Maria.
“Usually around this time, we would have been on our second week of training and the Dominica Association of Teachers would have been partnering with the Ministry of Education in organizing and conducting those sessions,” Fontaine stated. “This time around we are only engaging you for one week so that the rest of the time, you can enjoy a well-deserved vacation.”
The sessions will be facilitated by our own education officers, principals and senior teachers who are all well-qualified and have the necessary experience to be turned as master teachers.
Meantime, she said The Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development in the recent past has been working on a professional development plan to address the needs of the education system, “both formal teachers training and continuous teacher professional development is being considered.”
“We would like to get to the point where we have the best-trained teacher workforce that we can have and that this can be reflected in the performance of our students at all levels,” Fontaine noted.
Besides the continuous professional development that will occur throughout the school year at both national and school-based level she said the Ministry of Education is working with the Dominica State College (DSC) on the training of the untrained teachers at both primary and secondary level.
“For example, in September 2017, twenty-eight teachers at secondary level who already had bachelor’s degrees started a diploma in education programme that will qualify them for trained teachers status,” she noted.
Fontaine encouraged other teachers to enroll in the programme for the new academic year, as well as primary teachers who are not trained to get enrolled.
She revealed that later this year the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development will be engaging the Principals, particularly the newer ones in a competency based leadership training programme which will be centered on leadership standards developed at the regional level.
Schools reopen for teachers on September 3rd 2018 and for all students September 5th 2018.