System of issuing permanent trained teachers certificates needs rectifying
Stabroek News
January 14, 2002

Dear Editor,

I write to identify a major setback teachers face at the hands of the education ministry, that being the non granting of the permanent trained teachers' certificate to teachers. In case the public is not aware, may I identify the process for the granting of this so valuable document. The process begins with a temporary certificate, valid for two years having successfully completed training at the Cyril Potter College of Education, within those two years the teacher is expected to be assessed by an education official, and based on this assessment a permanent certificate may be recommended. Thus the teacher will become the legitimate holder of a permanent document rendering him/her a trained professional.

The big problem is that during the two years when the temporary certificate is in use, teachers are hardly, if ever, assessed. The Ministry frequently makes the excuse of not having enough officials to conduct any physical assessment. Teachers who have graduated from CPCE for more than ten years and have applied for permanent certificates are still without them.

One ready solution is to make it compulsory that teachers receive their permanent certificate on application, after they would have completed the 2 years, which I think is a long temporary period. My reason for suggesting this is that I continue to find it strange and unreasonable for teachers, in their final year of college, to pass through one year of teaching practice where they are being assessed continuously by competent, qualified and professional tutors from the said CPCE, to be assessed again by some Ministry official before the permanent certificate is granted. Don't we trust our tutors at CPCE? One may argue that the system has been like this for years but my answer is that social life is certainly not static but dynamic and we live in a world of change.

Recently there has been a view that teachers use their permanent certificate to make their escape to Botswana, Bahamas and other greener pastures. If this is so it is for the authorities to put systems in place to rectify this situation, but teachers should not be left to suffer because of this perception.

What should also be more troubling for officials at the ministry is the fact that though these certificates are not being issued through the correct procedure, teachers are still leaving for greener pastures. So the big question is how are teachers getting this certificate which is a necessary requirement in order that one be admitted to the profession in any of those places. Is there some other way, not known to teachers, of getting this certificate?

Yours faithfully,

Lurlene Nestor

National Secretary, GYSM