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Teacher representatives from government schools discuss issues at the Teacher Forum held on December 5th, 2013.

... they must be part of and actively engaged in the system that we use to refine our plans as we work towards improved student achievement

Minister Tara Rivers

Published 30th January 2014, 9:53am

National Teachers Forum Launched

In an effort to improve the dialogue and lines of communication between teachers and policy makers, the Ministry responsible for Education has launched a National Teachers Forum. Teacher representatives chosen from among their peers from all government schools were invited to share their thoughts, concerns and suggestions on the implementation of the Cayman Islands Strategic Plan for Education 2012-2017, and education in general.

On December 5, 2013, teacher representatives from all public primary and secondary schools in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac (via Skype), met for a second time at the Government Administration Building under the chairmanship of Hon. Tara Rivers, Minister of Education, Employment & Gender Affairs. Teacher representatives from all government schools were invited to participate in the forum which is expected to meet 3 more times for the school year which ends in June 2014. 

Minister Rivers noted that the establishment of a Teachers’ Forum was an important step towards engaging all stakeholders in the education system. She stated, “We have to ensure that our educators are not only given the opportunity to find out about the various education initiatives, but they must be part of and actively engaged in the system that we use to refine our plans as we work towards improved student achievement.”

At the first Teachers Forum meeting held on October 3rd, participants were invited to share the successes and concerns of their respective schools. Minister Rivers reminded participants that the forum provided an opportunity for people to speak freely and have issues addressed in a solution focused manner. Councillor Winston Connolly underscored the fact that the forum was established to improve communication within the Education System and to provide an opportunity for teachers to be actively involved in the implementation of the Cayman Islands Strategic Plan for Education 2012-2017, while ensuring the Ministry and Department of Education Services (DES) are themselves available and held accountable for delivering the relevant guidance and support to schools.

As part of the agenda for the December meeting, Minister Rivers and Chief Officer in the Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs, Mary Rodrigues, shared a number of proposed initiatives that are intended to focus on teacher development and their mental and emotional well-being. These initiatives include training for middle management leadership; on-going training in literacy, numeracy and ICT strategies; a programme of succession planning; and a few extra days off in March 2014, giving teachers a full week for half-term break.

Minister Rivers also facilitated a session in which the teachers were invited to share the outcomes of school-based meetings held with their respective peers in preparation for the Teachers Forum meeting. She emphasized that her Ministry would collate the teachers’ feedback given, and where necessary, provide the appropriate responses and support. The next forum is planned for the latter part of next month (February).

A similar initiative was launched for parents on December 5, 2013 whereby the Ministry hosted the first ever National Parents Forum for executive members of all public school PTAs. The inaugural Parents Forum meeting was well attended and greatly appreciated by all participants. A follow up Parents Forum meeting is planned for the near future as well.

 

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