Thursday, December 14, 2017

Locals can fix primary curriculum

I wish to propose an alternative to Prof John Spence's suggestion in the January 3 edition of the Express ("In education? Oh, the shame of it!'') of a correction to the award of the contract to revise the primary school curriculum to Mt St Vincent University of Canada.

Much more valuable than the expertise at UWI's Faculty of Education for reviewing and revising the primary school curriculum is the collective wisdom of the cohort of 800 Bachelor of Education graduates from UTT who spent five years in formal professional teacher-training, the first year of Teachers' College and the four-year degree for the B.Ed.

While the majority did the Primary Teaching Specialisation, there were those who specialised in Secondary Education Mathematics, Language and Literature, Agricultural Science, Integrated Science, Social Studies, Early Childhood Care and Education, Special Needs Education and Technical and Vocational Education. This cohort has also had the benefit of two years teaching before and after professional training in various positions in the system.

They remain a resource that is sufficiently conscious of the differences between theory and reality, policy and practice, politics and professionalism, and are personally conscious of systemic injustice (having experienced it so often) for them to empathise with the child who is marginalised by our neocolonial school system.

These professionals, I am sure, can be marshalled to review and revise the primary school curriculum based on their professional reflection on their experience and expertise.

They will know the difference between real progress and self-serving reports of massive improvement in school performance in tests. Even if the consultants of Mt St Vincent University suspect duplicity, they know how their bread will be buttered, so we can expect more of the same in the details, even as they flash the current clichés about independent student problem-solving, creative and logical thinking, teacher accountability, blah, blah, blah.

My proposal, then, stems from a rage that goes far deeper than the professor's shame. It is a rage that is caused by the dreadful irony that after the Education White Paper called for and has almost realised the professionalisation of the education system, that we should come to this —Mt St Vincent University of Canada to review and revise our primary school curriculum!

What must late educator Carol Keller be doing now?

Martin Jones

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