Is the teaching profession under threat? Would technology and artificial intelligence replace teachers?
These questions and more were put to a panel comprising novice teachers, a retired teacher, teacher cadets, an education student from the University of The Bahamas, and veteran teachers during the first World Teachers’ Day (WTD) Forum.
The forum, organized by the Ministry of Education, was held Tuesday, October 29, at Sybil Blyden Center, Stapledon School, to address some of the concerns of teachers and issues related to attracting and retaining bright minds in the profession.
The theme for the event was adopted from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) theme for 2019, “Young Teachers: The Future of the Profession”.
Among the audience were school administrators, senior MOE officials, students enrolled in the future teachers program, teachers from public and private schools, and tertiary organizations and newly hired teachers.
Michelle Sears, assistant director of Education, said WTD is an opportunity and an occasion to recognize teachers for their un-selfish work in schools and colleges. She said the goal of WTD is to focus everyone’s attention on appreciating teachers.
Since 1994, WTD is usually celebrated on October 5; however, this year it was recognized on Monday, October 7.
Lorraine Armbrister, permanent secretary in the MOE, commended and saluted the newly hired teachers and future teachers telling them that they have committed to serving the country in the “noblest” and most “selfless” manner.
“This afternoon you have been afforded an opportunity to share your views on aspects of the profession. We look forward to hearing from you on how our ministry can support the creation of a more vibrant, well-trained and qualified profession, which [attracts] the brightest minds in our country. We welcome your fresh thinking and differing perspectives,” said Armbrister.
She said the MOE acknowledges that teachers are the cornerstone of the educational system and the key component to the achievement of the work of UNESCO’s 2030 education agenda and the Ministry’s own vision for 2030.
Members of the panel were fielded questions derived from the World Teachers’ Day Concept Paper and given an opportunity to respond.
The panelists were: Aletha Hert and Dre Knowles, teacher cadets; D’Nevia Seymour, UB student; Sidney Sawyer, R.M. Bailey Senior High School; Jerez Rolle, D.W. Davis Junior High School; Kent Lightbourn, C.R. Walker High School; Waynette Bethell-Hanna, National Teacher of the Year, E.P. Roberts Primary; and Geta Williams, retired teacher.