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Tuesday, January 10, 2006 

10-point plan for education
by Daily Nation
Posted: Jan 9, 2006 13:25 UTC

BRIDGETOWN - Chief education officer Wendy Griffith-Watson has put forward "several proposals" which she said might help with some of the challenges the school system faced.

Griffith-Watson unveiled her ten-point "proposal" last Friday at The St Michael School's speech day and prize giving ceremony. Her first proposal was for "teacher training to be totally revamped to include industrial relations, gender issues in the Caribbean and change the culture of the classrooms to provide more effective means of building some discipline in children". She said she was doing research which suggested that the authorities needed to look more at behaviour in the classroom.

Her second proposal was "no one should become a principal without working in the Ministry of Education for some period of time" because the experience from working at the ministry was "invaluable". She also said teachers should teach at several schools before becoming a principal.

This, she said, would give them a true understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the education system. The chief education officer said there should be leadership training for senior teachers and heads of department to prepare them for managerial roles and that all teachers and principals should undergo compulsory periodic "refresher" training, some of which would have to be done during the vacation. She said there was a need to re-examine the three-term system because too many teachers were complaining of not being able to complete their syllabuses on time.

She said for example time would be lost during this school term to inter-school sporting activity, and perhaps the schools should just be off during the week of competition and let that week be the only vacation given.

Her other proposals included compulsory attendance in schools for a certain amount of days; more prevocational programmes where children could spend three days in school and two days gaining work experience; the production of more plays which focused on wholesome entertainment; adequate career training must be provided by trained professionals so students "can chart clear career paths"; and due process must be accepted by all educational stakeholders, including the students, in solving conflict.

Griffith-Watson said those involved in education must start looking at how to get through to children in schools.

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