Education

Educators complete BTVI advanced technical training

Ministry of Education (MOE) teachers were urged to continue to equip themselves and stay current in their respective subject areas in order to remain competitive in a global workforce, but also to prepare better students – some of whom would undoubtedly eventually study at Bahamas Technical & Vocational Institute (BTVI) – as 162 government educators, staff and administrators completed advanced technical training at the institute.

Kevin Basden, BTVI chairman, said the board has great expectations that through the skills acquired, the participants would make an indelible impact on the education system and by extension, communities and the country at large.

“We live in an age where you are privileged to have been afforded quality technical training right from the comfort of your homes. One of the many lessons the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us is that with technology at our fingertips, learning is even more accessible,” said Basden. “Continue to equip yourselves and stay current in your respective subject areas in order to remain competitive in a global workforce, but also to better prepare students – some of whom will no doubt eventually study at BTVI.”

Church Smith, family and consumer science teacher, described the courses as “intense”.

“The journey was not easy, but this program made me more confident, removing the wall of hesitation,” said the C. C. Sweeting Senior School teacher.

When the program began in September 2020, many of the teachers had just returned to blended learning and had to adjust to teaching and learning online.

Tiffany Johnson, business studies teacher at the ministry’s virtual school, described the courses as an “intellectual obstacle course” but said she gained a wealth of knowledge.

Johnson admitted that she “crawled” to the finish line.

“I assess differently and I give feedback differently. As for BTVI’s instructors, I thought I knew how to teach, until I met them. They were patient, kind and extended grace. At six and seven in the morning, they were online to assist before an 8 a.m. class.”

Smith and Johnson were just two of the 54 participants, that also included teachers from nine Family Islands, to complete the advanced technical training at BTVI. 

The courses, which were virtual, included instructional materials, teaching online, entrepreneurship, Microsoft PowerPoint, Introduction to Python, JavaScript, Microsoft Word and internet fundamentals. 

They collectively earned over 560 digital badges. BTVI’s digital badges are managed by City and Guilds of London via DigitalMe. The badges are stored on Credly – considered as the world’s most trusted credential network in the blockchain.

All 162 participants earned at least one digital badge, indicating successful course completion. Of the participants, 111 or 69 percent, earned a minimum of three badges and 137 or 84 percent earned at least two badges. Two individuals earned seven digital badges. The government provided scholarships to all participants.

The advanced training charter group was comprised mainly of employees from the Career and Technical Education (CTE) section of the ministry, headed by Keyshan Bastian, assistant director of education.

Marcellus Taylor, MOE director of education, thanked the participants for being responsive to duty during a pandemic era and “difficult” year, which has altered how business and life are now conducted.

“With COVID-19, we’ve had to lift the education system from brick and mortar onto the virtual platform, so we’re happy the deliberate, systematic set of courses were offered at this time. We know that teaching can not revert completely to how it was before. You, as professionals, who have gained these skills, utilize them to enhance the teaching and learning process,” said Taylor.

The director said the ministry is on a mission to create a 21st century education system. Currently, public school students continue to meet in virtual classrooms amid the pandemic with some days face-to-face.

The drive-up ceremony was held at the Chapel on the Hill grounds, Tonique Williams-Darling Highway.

Dr. Robert W. Robertson, BTVI’s president, noted that the field of education has evolved.

“It’s certainly a different world. It’s been a difficult year, learning new devices and then internet problems – and those things happen everywhere – but from what I’ve heard and seen, BTVI has risen to the occasion and the Ministry of Education has done the same,” said Robertson.

“BTVI has been on the leading edge of work you will continue to see post-COVID. We can look forward with confidence that we will be better prepared, as a result of these nano courses you have taken, to be in a better position to turn the corner – as we deal with this new reality,” he said.

The BTVI president encouraged the Ministry of Education staff to avail themselves of other opportunities at BTVI, inclusive of certifications.

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