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close this bookTrinidad & Tobago: A Baseline Study of the Teacher Education System (CIE, 1999, 61 p.)
close this folderChapter 5: The Quality And Effectiveness Of Teacher Education
View the document5.1 Assumptions made about trainees
View the document5.2 Indicators of Quality
View the document5.3 Support System for Newly Trained Teachers

5.1 Assumptions made about trainees

From 1983 onwards, all teacher trainees were holders of secondary school qualifications of some sort (a result of the abandonment of the monitorial system in 1969). Additionally, many of these trainees possessed GCE A-level and other post-secondary qualifications. In 1984, for example, 22% of the trainees at Corinth Teachers' College had passed two to three A-level subjects; and 12% had post-secondary education in the technical/vocational areas (Rampaul, 1989). At Corinth Teachers' College in 1998, 109 of the 265 students who responded to a survey questionnaire (41.1%) indicated that they had passed at least one A-level subject. All had met the minimum requirement for entry into a Training College

The minimum requirements for entry into the Teaching Service, stipulated in the Ministry's circular of 1985, were expected to have at least two effects. Firstly, entrants into the teaching service would be better equipped to teach the full range of subjects in the primary school syllabus, while awaiting entry into a Teachers' College. Secondly, it was hoped that, with the selection of candidates with higher academic standards, less attention would need to be paid to the content areas and more attention could be paid to professional areas in the colleges' syllabi. However, to date, little or no modifications have been made, either to the syllabus, or to the structural arrangements of the training course.

It was expected that the colleges would respond to the changing circumstances regarding the quality of students entering the Teachers' Colleges. However, these developments have had no significant impact on the colleges' programme of work. The Syllabus of Work of 1970 continues to prevail, while no action has been taken on the first draft of a new Teachers' Programme, submitted to the Board of Teacher Training by a Working Committee in July of 1988. A pattern of indifference to curriculum development at this level has prevailed.

In the absence of formal and detailed evaluations of the programmes at the Teachers' Colleges, there are no clear indicators of whether or not the assumptions about student characteristics on entry to the programme are justified. Some college lecturers insist that students have knowledge bases that are deficient in certain areas (particularly science). On the other hand, some students seem to regard the programme of study as unchallenging.