Local teacher training course validated

| 16/09/2015 | 21 Comments
teacher training

Seated (L-R) JBTE Administrator Dr Marcia Stewart and Education Programme Leader Terese Parker; standing (L-R) Dean of Academic Affairs Dr Allan Young and President JA Roy Bodden

(CNS): Education and teacher training courses delivered by the University College of the Cayman Islands have received validation from the Joint Board of Teacher Education (JBTE), which has been heralded by education officials as an important step in improving the much-criticised local teaching standards. The news follows the controversial reviews and baseline inspections of local schools that blamed poor teaching in Cayman for the low levels of achievement by students in government schools.

The UCCI education courses were created to encourage more local people into teaching. The recent baseline inspections revealed low numbers of local teaching staff and a significant number of transient overseas teachers, especially in the high schools. Only 10% of teachers at John Gray High School are from Cayman and many of the overseas teaching staff are on short-term contracts.

The validation of the local courses, which include an Associate of Arts in Primary Education, Bachelor of Science in Primary Education and Postgraduate Certificate in Primary Education, means the courses adhere to and reflect the CARICOM standards for quality in teacher education. The college stated that the courses were all designed in partnership with the education ministry.

“UCCI’s Teacher Education Programmes are designed to prepare students for teaching in a government or private school at the primary level. Developed so that students learn best practices based on latest educational research, the programmes have been tailored specifically to meet the needs of schools and schoolchildren in the Cayman Islands,” officials from UCCI said in a release.

Education Minister Tara Rivers said, “One of the most critical links to student success is the quality of teaching. Therefore, this validation is an important step for UCCI in ensuring that graduates of the Teacher Education Programmes have the skills necessary to start a successful and exciting teaching career.”

The validation comes shortly after UCCI was granted international accreditation by the UK-based Accreditation Service for International Schools, Colleges and Universities (ASIC). University College President Roy Bodden said this was one more step towards the college obtaining international benchmarks for all its programmes.

“As president, I welcome this achievement as it now means that Caymanian students need no longer go abroad for teacher education at the levels offered by UCCI,” he added.

The accreditation came after what was described as an extensive exercise by Administrator Dr Marcia Stewart and the evaluation team from the JBTE University of the West Indies (Mona) to ensure the education programmes meet both regional and international standards.

The JBTE has been engaged in quality assurance in teacher education since 1965.

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Comments (21)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Let’s put this into perspective. Harvard University is ranked number 1 in the world, Cambridge and Oxford are ranked number 13th and 14th, Newcastle University, where I did my teacher training is ranked 188th

    The university of the West Indies is ranked 2629.


    If they want a good teacher training college in Cayman, they need to be accredited by a decent Board of Universities.

  2. P&L says:

    Assuming the program is sufficient, significant scholarships for Education majors should follow. If CIG offerred 40-50 teaching scholarships a year to Caymanians and PR holders then in 5 years or so we should start to see a steady inflow of local licensed teachers into the system.

    While they’re studying there’s a few years for CIG to develop and implement competituve incentive packages for teachers and to make the necessary changes to the system so that teachers have the support they need to be great.

    • Anonymous says:

      Where are you going to find the 40-50 people to take up teaching scholarships. Get real man, we have difficulty finding five.

      • P&L says:

        Good point… well we can start with 5 and work on the lower schools pronto… then maybe increase by 5 a year… gotta start somewhere, no? We need solutions.

        • Anonymous says:

          Man oh man, you just don’t get it. We are out there all the time encouraging. An increase by 5 a year is just impossible at this time. However, we never give up.

    • Just Driftwood says:

      This sounds great, in theory. I think there may be a couple of things to consider, though. The first is that teachers don’t really teach for money; if they were motivated primarily by money they’d do something else. They are motivated by the desire to help students, but that quickly turns to burnout when they are blamed for system failures (ahem), given far more students than they can realistically attend to, and/or abused by students and parents in a system that offers protection to everyone BUT the teacher. That’s why many teachers quit after a few years and go on to do something (anything) else (speaking from experience).

      The second concern would be “brain drain.” What makes you think someone would choose to return to Cayman? I have spoken to a lot of young people here, and their desire is often to leave for a lower cost of living and more things to do. You would have to pay a LOT of money to motivate teachers to live in a place with a higher cost of living than NYC when they can get lower paying jobs in areas that are much cheaper to live in, with more to do. Contrary to popular attitude, there aren’t throngs of people clamoring to live here.

  3. No Soup for You says:


  4. Anonymous says:

    Health warning: Accreditation dos not always equal quality!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Do all of these evaluators, planners, and programs recognize the home and family as the first school and the first educators?

  6. Anonymous says:

    How much emphasis has been put by all our teacher education courses, education planners, decision makers and the recent school study, on the influence of the home, on students’ learning progress?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Has the JBTE validation process been approved by the UK Accreditation Service?. The goal of attracting more Caymanian teachers will be impacted far more by offering a better pay scale.

    • Anonymous says:

      The role of teachers in the Cayman Islands is so absolutely vital to our future that the whole infrastructure needs to be re-evaluated. The best role models for school kids are probably local teachers. All efforts should be aimed towards achieving Caymanian teachers in Caymanian schools.
      Teenagers with ability need to be motivated to take up teaching by promising them a better than average wage with a better than average contract. They should, upon satisfactory completion of high school, be given the opportunity to attend teachers college in the UK, with a liveable bursary whilst there. On completion they would return home to take up a career with prestige and a higher than average income which could be supplemented by a bonus annual payment based on successful exam passes by their students.
      A whole new attitude towards teachers, students and the Ministry is vital for the future of Cayman. Without a future for our kids the threat of anarchy is very real.

      • Anonymous says:

        Do you honestly think that we are not already trying to attract local teachers? Get real man, teaching is not for everyone.

        • Anonymous says:

          As a product of 5 generations of school teachers, I am well aware of the challenges here. You need to raise the prestige and rewards for teachers as the vocational factor has been so sorely eroded by the parents and the community at large with regard to sneering at educators striving to bring the educational system in Cayman into the 20th century, much less the 21st century which thee rest of the world is adapting to.
          Sit at the dinner table of families with school age kids and listen to the denigration of new age educators. That is, of course if there is a family meal time with discourse over the meal and including hopefully 3 generations at times.

          • Anonymous says:

            Coming from 5 generations of school teachers does not make you a good teacher nor does it give your opinion any more kudos than a teacher with no history in the family of teaching. Just saying

        • Anonymous says:

          In that case, spend as much money as it takes to attract the right teachers from the best teachers colleges the English speaking world has to offer.
          Give them bonuses for good results, provide them with affordable housing, allow their partners to work in Cayman. Maybe the improved prestige of the teaching profession WILL eventually convince the local kids and their parents that it is a vocation worth pursuing.
          Use the MLA’s slush funds to secure Caymans future. Now, before all is lost.
          If the primary school children don’t make the grade, then they will parent an even less literate generation.

    • Anonymous says:

      It needs to be accredited by the UK or somewhere else before anyone can assume it’s a good course for soon to be teachers. Sorry to burst the bubble of success, but I have personally been involved in the course ( primary) and in my opinion it is not a good course. They only do one teaching practise and that only focusses on the teaching of maths and english. What about all the other subjects? There’s no requirement to get involved with assessment and levelling either. They may have changed it in past couple of years, I hope so.

      • Anonymous says:

        Certainly- the British have a monopoly on good brains. Once it has to do with the Caribbean- is has to be second class- right?

        But then I can’t blame you for harbouring ideas of British superiority as you most likely have no idea of the high level of scholarship in the Caribbean.

        • Just Driftwood says:

          Do the elected politicians reflect the “high level of scholarship in the Caribbean?” I listen to the assembly on the radio and generally the critical thinking/reasoning and rhetorical skills are pretty poor.

        • Anonymous says:

          Maybe you should learn to read properly instead of getting on your high horse. The poster said the UK or somewhere else, meaning not just the UK, but somewhere else too.

  8. Anonymous says:


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