Submitted by: Claude H. A.
Analysis of a complex educational
system - the teacher education system in Jamaica.
The purpose of this paper is to
analyze the teacher education system in Jamaica. This is set in
the wider context of the education system in the island with
teacher education representing the macro level and the education
system the mega level, using Kaufman's terminology (2000). The
appendix gives a summary of the analysis done with the levels of
planning and focus of the system indicated. The ideal vision is
at the mega level. This represents the desired outcomes, the
results and consequences to society. The mission analysis is at
the macro level, the results to be delivered outside of the
teacher training institutions, which are themselves at the micro
level. The task analysis indicates the process, the means by
which the teacher training is implemented. The inputs are the
human, physical and financial resources used.
This report is limited to an
analysis of the teacher training system in the teachers' colleges
in the island.
There are eight teachers' colleges
whose mission is to provide trained teachers for the early
childhood, primary special and secondary schools although no one
college provides all of these programs. Students are required to
take courses in their subjects of specialization, as well as
Education and English courses. They do supervised teaching, also
referred to as teaching practice, in local schools. Successful
students graduate from the three year programs in the colleges
with a teacher's diploma. Links have been established by some of
the colleges with universities locally and overseas. Colleges
which are not now also offering degree programs in conjunction
with these universities are considering doing so in the future
with a view to the colleges becoming degree granting in their own
right in the foreseeable future.
Other tertiary institutions,
including the University of the West Indies, and the University
of Technology also have teacher-training programs.
Not all the teachers in the system
are trained. According to the Ministry of Education statistics,
approximately 20% of the 21,150 teachers at the primary and
secondary levels are untrained. The Ministry of Education is
attempting to reduce this number significantly by requiring that
these persons become trained, and by stemming the influx of
additional untrained teachers into the system (Ministry of
Education and Culture, 1999).
Methods used to collect
Data sources are the Ministry of
Education and Culture tertiary unit, the Joint Board of Teacher
Education and the Statistical Institute of Jamaica.
The Ministry of Education
Tertiary Unit is a
branch of the Ministry of Education and Culture (MOEC) with
responsibility for the tertiary level of the education
The Joint Board of Teacher
Education (JBTE), an arm
of the University of the West Indies, is currently responsible
for developing the syllabuses and coordinating the programs of
the teachers' colleges. It is also, along with the Ministry of
Education and Culture, responsible for the
accreditation/certification of the graduates of the colleges not
only in Jamaica but up to this year in Belize and the Bahamas as
The Statistical Institute of
Jamaica is responsible
for the research and housing of the statistical records in the
The vision for the education system
of the island at the mega level is for close to
- 100% literacy (current
- equal educational opportunities
with adequate facilities (financial, human and physical
- skilled workforce able to use the
resources of the country creatively and effectively to improve
the social and economic conditions of Jamaica
Mission Statement of the
Ministry of Education and Culture
"To establish and manage an
effective system of human development for Jamaica, which
harmonizes our educational and cultural resources, so that
individual needs and aspirations are met, positive human values
are maintained and social, cultural and economic development of
the nation is enhanced".
The mission of the teachers'
colleges is to produce quality teachers for the education
The Learning Context
Validation of the need for
The data source is the Tertiary
Unit of the Ministry of education.
Trained teachers with content
knowledge and pedagogical skills are required to "improve the
quality of teaching in the system as well as to improve the image
of the teaching profession" (Ministry of Education and Culture,
There are several categories of
untrained teachers currently in the system:
· Untrained graduates - those who possess
University degrees in specific disciplines but no teacher
· Specialist 11 - comprising mainly Associate
Degree graduates of the former College of Agriculture, and
Diploma Graduates of the Edna Manley College and the University
· Specialist 1 - skilled artisans who lack
academic qualification for training at a higher level and need
upgrading of their professional competencies.
· Pre-trained Incomplete - comprising mainly
persons who have been to college but need to repeat certain
courses in order to receive the diploma certifying them as
· Pre-trained Qualified for entry to college -
comprising persons possessing the passes in four or more
Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) subjects, but for various
reasons have not yet entered college
· Pre-trained unqualified for entry - these do
not have the minimum qualifications for entry to college.
Three of the eight colleges are
located in Kingston and the rest in the rural areas. Living
accommodations are provided but students have the option not to
live at the colleges. The escalating cost of maintaining the
colleges, borne by the Government of Jamaica along with modest
fees charged to the students, limits the facilities available for
implementing the programs of the colleges. Nevertheless some
upgrading has been taking place especially in the provision of a
number of computers for use by both staff and students. Students
have access to a library located at each college.
The learners, male and female, are
all required to have passed a minimum of four subjects at the CXC
level or it's equivalent to qualify for entry into the college.
Students may however be admitted with only three subjects but
they must obtain passes in a fourth subject before the diploma is
awarded. Students with higher qualifications in their subjects of
specialization may be granted advanced placement, which means
they are exempted from the first year of the course. There is a
fairly wide disparity among the students with respect to their
ages and ability, the number of subjects and the level at which
they were passed, the length of time between obtaining their
qualifications and entering college, their motivation, and their
financial and family commitments.
The key players in the system are
the Ministry of Education, JBTE, the Teachers' Colleges,
students, tutors, the administrative and ancillary staff, schools
and other employers, and parents.
Design and delivery
The instructor-led face-to-face
delivery strategy is typically used in the teachers' colleges.
Print is the most commonly used medium for the delivery of
instruction and this is because of the relative low cost to
produce, ease of distribution, and various instructional media
attributes including portability. Some use is made of available
technology for example, overhead projector, television, VCR, and
an increasing use of computers. Plans are being made to train all
tutors to use computers in teaching. The syllabuses for the
different areas of the system are formulated under the direction
of the Joint Board of Teacher Education (JBTE) and written by the
tutors themselves. The tutors are responsible for the design of
To effect the delivery, each
college has an academic staff, administrative staff, and an
ancillary staff. The academic staff is required to have a minimum
of five years post degree teaching experience, and must be
teacher-trained with a minimum of a bachelor's degree but
preferably a masters degree or higher. The administrative and
ancillary staffs provide vital functions within the
Financial support: The teachers'
colleges are funded mainly by the Ministry of Education and
Culture (MOEC) with cost sharing from student fees.
Physical facilities: Infrastructure
is provided for classes and recreation. Living accommodation is
available for students at all the colleges but this is optional
Feedback and interactions: Feedback
is supplied to students instantly during classes, from analyses
of course work and the results of the external examinations set
by JBTE. Effectiveness of instruction in the teachers colleges is
measured by the percentage rate of passes and the performance of
the graduates in the field. A 70 % pass rate is considered to be
Assessment: - The forms of
assessment are both internal and external. Internal Assessment of
course work is conducted by tutors of the courses and includes
end of unit achievement tests, performance assessment, portfolios
and projects assessment. For external assessment, there are
scheduled examinations that are moderated by the external
examiners appointed by the JBTE. There is practice teaching with
a research paper component that is assessed by the tutors and
external examiners. For the external examinations use is made of
multiple choice, structured, and extended essay items. Successful
candidates are certified by the JBTE in conjunction with the
Students are instructed in the
preparation of lesson plans with the events of instructions
similar to Gagne's nine instructional events. There should be an
introduction to gain attention and orient learners to each
lesson. This is followed by the body where links are made with
previous knowledge, the stimulus is presented, response elicited,
and opportunity is given for practice. The learner should be
given guidance so as to engage in practice using instructional
materials, and feedback provided. The lesson is then summarized
and evaluated. There are two types of evaluation: evaluation 1
where the learners are evaluated in terms of what is learned and
evaluation 2 which is a reflective process where different
aspects of the lesson and the teaching performance of the
The system is dynamic in that it
has to respond to changes in education policies in terms of
supply and demand in the system. This requires changes in the
programs offered. Currently the colleges are moving towards
becoming degree-granting institutions. This change will affect
the qualification requirement of tutors, the entry requirement of
students, syllabuses, and output of graduates.
The programs in the colleges are
being rationalized for cost effectiveness with the allocation of
courses to different colleges. There are more demands in the use
of technology therefore teachers have to be trained in its use.
Resources are needed to meet these demands, and increased
security for the protection of equipment. Teaching strategies
will change as technology is incorporated into the
The system is very complex in that
there is a multiplicity of functions to perform within and across
subsystems (people, tools, and tasks). Teaching in itself is a
complex task, which requires individual needs to be addressed,
for example, to accommodate different learning styles, and
different environments in which the task is performed. People are
different and a variety of strategies are required for the system
to work effectively to accomplish its goals.
There are a large number of graduates who are performing
successfully in the world of work. More tools - materials and
equipment, are however required to meet the increasing demands
for training to allow the graduates to be current and
competitive. The functionality of the system is therefore limited
by its resources. The society requires trained teachers in
various specialized areas. Some courses in the colleges, for
example in physics, are not attracting enough qualified students,
and therefore a shortage of trained teachers is experienced in
The system is cybernetic in that
when there is a greater demand for more trained teachers the
system allows for greater intake of students within the limits of
the available resources. In instances where not enough graduates
are produced the deficiencies may be temporarily addressed by
other persons who have some expertise in the field.
Large numbers of teachers need to
be trained and the resources for training are limited.
Rationalization to reduce duplication of courses and to promote
cost effectiveness is one strategy implemented by the Government.
Other methods have to be found to maximize our resources. The
time is ripe for 'stepping out of the box', using new paradigms,
employing strategies that Kaufman (2000) refers to as critical
success factor 1, "use new and wider boundaries for thinking,
planning, doing, and evaluating/continuously improving: moving
out of today's comfort zones'. New ways of effecting in-service
training, for example, through distance education, to supplement
the use of evening colleges, need to be explored. Income
generating projects and other sources of funding are also
required. Education is the way forward for economic progress and
the improvement of the social conditions in the island. The long
term cost of not investing enough resources in the training of
quality teachers for the system will be far greater than the cost
required to do so.
Kaufman, R. (2000). Mega
planning: Practical tools for organizational success.
Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Ministry of education and culture.
(1999). Report of task force on new directions in teacher
education. Jamaica: Ministry of Education Youth and Culture,
See APPENDICES below….