Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, is encouraging teachers to make use of online programmes in upgrading their skills. He said that while the Government is in full support of professional development, it could not afford the cost of having teachers on extended study leave. “We all have to consider economics and it is not going to be possible for the extensive periods of study leave that we have been accustomed to in the past. It is simply not affordable,” Rev. Thwaites stated. He was addressing a scholarship award ceremony for Spanish language teachers held on February 20 at the Caenwood Education Centre, Kingston. According to the Education Minister, the Government owes many schools over $1 billion to pay temporary instructors while the regular teachers are on study leave. He said that the Ministry intends to have discussions with the teachers’ groups, “to ensure that in the ambition of teachers to advance themselves…. the children that they teach are by no means curtailed, and that training will be done in ways that are consistent with modern technology rather than traditional habit.” Fifty full scholarships valued at $237,500 were awarded to Jamaican teachers of Spanish by the Embassy of Spain and the Spanish- Jamaican Foundation. The award, of $4,750 each, will enable the teachers to participate in a one year Virtual Spanish Classroom (Aula Virtual de Español) programme and will receive internationally accredited certification upon completion.Rev. Thwaites thanked the Embassy and the Spanish Foundation for partnering with the Ministry to improve the teaching of Spanish in schools.He said the fact that the programme of study is being offered online, “will make a tremendous difference where we will not sacrifice quality, but rather, we will enhance the professional advancement, the appropriate remuneration of our teachers and at the same time, be able to spread our resources in more productive ways.”For her part, Ambassador of Spain to Jamaica, Celsa Nuño, stated that the course is very interactive and focuses on practical skills.“It is also versatile and it embraces all the accents, the diversity of the countries that speak Spanish that are much closer to Jamaica,” she stated.Over 100 teachers of Spanish are slated to benefit from the virtual study programme. The intention is to have better prepared teachers and students, improve teaching methodologies, and enhance the quality of foreign language education.The training will provide a forum for self-improvement based on language competence and performance while at work, and will be of no cost to the Government of Jamaica.
Story Highlights Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’, today (September 25), to discuss activities for World Maritime Week, MAJ Director General, Rear Admiral Peter Brady, said the approach is particularly important as shipping technology changes. The Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) is welcoming the thrust of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) towards industry-led maritime education and training.Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’, today (September 25), to discuss activities for World Maritime Week, MAJ Director General, Rear Admiral Peter Brady, said the approach is particularly important as shipping technology changes.“The shipping industry now has very advanced vessels. For example, there is now the mandatory inclusion of an Electro-Technical Officer (ETO) or Electrical Officer on board some vessels,” Mr. Brady said.The ETO is a licensed member of the engine department of a merchant ship as per Section A-III/6 of the International Convention of Standards and Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) Code, and is the most vital in the technical hierarchy of modern advanced ships with automated and conventional electrical and electronic systems.The Director General said this is necessary because the average marine engineer could not cope with the advanced electronics with which modern ships are equipped.“You could look, for example, at communications. All communications that you enjoy ashore can be enjoyed at sea, but it takes a little bit more to ensure that it is done and kept as efficiently,” he said.“The communication is sustained over a long period of time because as you may realise, the marine environment is very rough. It can be very hostile because of the content of salt in the atmosphere and, therefore, our equipment has to be maintained more frequently,” Mr. Brady added.The Director General pointed out that the expertise required involves dealing with offshore communications systems and satellite communications systems.“We even have communications systems for the controls on the ship itself from ashore, thousands of miles away that have revolutionised shipping completely.This means that while you still have to train people to work at sea, you’ll have fewer people on board the ship and more people ashore tending to the ship remotely,” he said.This, he argued, is the future of shipping, and that is what persons in the industry have to be trained to do.The Director General said the technology is now so far advanced that “we have to equip our people to be competent as opposed to just learned or educated”.“You must be able to apply the knowledge that you learn to whatsoever you are doing at sea, so the addition of the Festo Lab at the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), the technological advances that they have there and the emphasis that’s being placed on industry is not only critical to the maritime sector but also timely and visionary,” he said.On September 19, the CMU officially opened the world’s largest Festo Authorised and Certified Training (FACT) Centre at its Palisadoes Park Campus, aimed at bringing a responsive approach to industry needs.World Maritime Week is being observed from September 23 to 28. “The shipping industry now has very advanced vessels. For example, there is now the mandatory inclusion of an Electro-Technical Officer (ETO) or Electrical Officer on board some vessels,” Mr. Brady said. The Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) is welcoming the thrust of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) towards industry-led maritime education and training.