ST JOHN’S, Antigua -- The ministry of education in Antigua and Barbuda has teamed up with University of the Southern Caribbean to create an opportunity for teachers wishing to pursue studies in special education.
The university will offer teachers the opportunity to study for a certificate in special education, at the institution’s campus in Antigua. The revelation was made by Minister of Education Dr Jacqui-Quinn-Leandro, while delivering remarks on Monday, at the opening of a week-long seminar, in association with USC.
Quinn-Leandro, in highlighting the efforts being made to advance special education, credited the University of the Southern Caribbean for partnering with her ministry to provide the requisite training for teachers.
“The ministry of education has made special efforts to boost initiatives, activities and programs in special education recognizing that this particular area of education has not been done justice over the years. So when the University of the Southern Caribbean offered to partner with the ministry, we shared that at the top of our wish list was training for teachers in special education. USC readily came on board and we are extremely grateful for the offer to assist in training our teachers.”
The certification that teachers will receive starting next year, according to the education minister, will boost an area within the education system that has been seriously deficient.
“Several sensitization seminars and crash courses have been organized over the past two summers at our summer institute where experts in the field of special educational needs have imparted knowledge and skills. What was lacking, however, was on-the-ground accredited training which would avail even more teachers and persons who have an interest in special education easier access to certification,” Quinn-Leandro explained.
“The University of Southern Caribbean, has sought to put this in place and will very shortly assist the government in filling our national needs in this regard. In fact the USC Antigua campus will serve as the hub for the online version for all of the Leeward and Windward islands for persons wishing to pursue this particular course. We look very forward to January 2014 when we will see the beginning of the Special Education Diploma Programme,” the minister noted.
USC president Clifton Valley explained that the programme will have seven modules, and will be taught online and onsite, with a practicum of 300 hours. He said the institution has a “cadre of well qualified professionals from across the Caribbean and elsewhere, in getting teachers trained in this vital area of national development.”
Additionally, through discussions with the Antigua Christian Network, one university course will be offered on national television free of cost to Antiguans and Barbudans by the school. Viewers, who have met university requirements will be able to register, complete the assignments and receive university credits.