By Simone Tull
Hi-tech courses are on the cards for Erdiston Teachers’ Training College.
Principal Dr. Colin Cumberbatch made the announcement during the institution’s graduation ceremony on Saturday night. “As the college moves forward, there is a plan to rebrand the Continuing Education Programme and offer additional courses in areas such as coding robotics, Mandarin, information technology, online pedagogies and subject areas which could lead to CSEC certification,” he said.
The head of the institution emphasised the importance of technology in learning and said the college will expose teachers to virtual reality and how the technology can provide vicarious learning opportunities for students. He urged the government to provide devices which could be used in the classroom setting.
The principal also made an impassioned plea for more space at the institution, saying the current environment can not adequately accommodate staff. “Most of our classes are now held in the evening and we often find ourselves shuffling rooms to accommodate classes. The space dilemma at the college is further compounded by the numerous requests from ministries, other government entities, schools and various associations to host meetings and other activities at the college,” he stressed.
Cumberbatch called for the main building on the campus, which was razed by fire in 2011, to be restored. He noted, “Additionally, the college is pursuing accreditation, and there is a need for additional rooms and space to meet the requirements for this accreditation.”
The organisation continues to adapt to the needs of the wider society. Cumberbatch added, “The increasing number of students presenting with special educational needs in our schools is not just a concern for the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, but also for us at the college. To ensure that our teachers are prepared adequately to address the needs of these students, the college continues to offer the Postgraduate Diploma in Special Education.”
The theme for the evening was “Embracing Our Story”. Valedictorian Kenroy Birch, who excelled in the Postgraduate Diploma in Educational Leadership, expressed, “Your good work does not end at the Erdiston Training College but in fact begins here and will continue for the rest of your days. You are part of a legacy of great achievers, dreamers, and winners.”
Dame Avisene Carrington was acknowledged for her sterling contribution to education on the island. Those receiving special awards for outstanding performances were president of the Barbados Council for the Disabled Kerry Ann Ifill with a Postgraduate Diploma in Special Education, Janelle Griffith for the Technical and Vocational Teachers’ Training Programme in Adult Education and Keisha Dottin with a Bachelor of Education (Primary). Also receiving special awards were Richilde Hunte with a Diploma in Education and Romario Hunte with a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education (Secondary).
In the featured address Marsha Caddle, the parliamentary representative for the St. Michael South Central constituency stated, “As we consider this education reform, I say careful and I say considered because there are so many social norms and ideas that we have to come to terms with collectively before we move, or while we move because we know we can’t always wait for a perfect understanding of how things work in order to step forward. We have to step out sometimes in faith and we have to get it together. We have to submit ourselves to experimentation.” She added, “We have to try something, and we have to be big enough to stop and say, alright, this is not working, we have got to try something else.”
Also addressing the attendees was Minister of Education, Technology and Vocational Training Kay McConney. She stressed the significant impact that teachers have on their charges. She praised stalwart of the teaching profession Esther Larrier for the outstanding contribution she has made. She implored, “A teacher who teaches with heart understands that teaching is simply not about the information and the knowledge that we are going to pour into our children, but it is what we inspire and bring out of them.”
Deputy Principal Francis Thompson undertook the master of ceremony duties. Vocalist Jamal Slocombe, who teamed up with the Erdiston Teachers’ College Choir for a rendition of Total Praise, provided entertainment. Calypsonian Ian Webster performed his soca song Memories adding an extra verse which resonated with the graduands. (STT)