A total of 232 Teachers in Training (TIT) also known as untrained or unqualified teachers have attained Certificate in Teaching (Primary) qualifications and are now eligible to become registered teachers.
These teachers were part of the graduates that attended a graduation ceremony organised by the USP Solomon Island campus on Friday 22 September, 2023 at the Seventh Day Church Maranatha Hall in East Honiara.
The newly graduate teachers are from Malaita, Central Islands, Isabel and Renbel Provinces.
This was made possible through the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) contract agreement with the USP SI Campus – who facilitated the Certificate in Teaching (Primary) training program for the teachers-in-training. Funding for the TiT program was provided by Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) through the Education Sector Support Program.
The MEHRD Senior Management expressed its sincere gratitude to the Australian and New Zealand Governments for providing the much-needed financial assistance to help the teachers attain their teaching qualifications.
A similar contract agreement was also signed with Solomon Islands National University (SINU) to facilitate training to the second cohort of untrained primary and secondary teachers.
The training of TIT is linked to the Ministry’s National Education Action Plan (2022-2026) strategic goal of improving quality and relevance of education. This policy framework emphasises recruitment of qualified teachers – persons who have a minimum academic qualification required for teaching their subjects at the relevant level. MEHRD also emphasises that teachers should have sufficient pedagogical training which encompasses educational theory, teaching methods, child development, assessment in addition to focused study in languages, mathematics, sciences etc.
The latest graduation of 232 teachers is part of the USP SI campus cohort who successfully completed the Certificate in Teaching Primary Program in December 2022 in Honiara and Auki training venues.
The other cohort of untrained teachers (200+) is currently trained by the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) and this cohort is expected to graduate next year, 2024.
Untrained teachers from Guadalcanal, Malaita, Temotu, Makira, Choiseul and Western provinces have successfully completed their respective training from 2010 to 2022. The trainings were provided by SINU and USP.
Manager of Teaching Training Development Division, Mr Charles Rouikera explains that there are two categories of TIT- the first is straight from, high schools who had completed Forms 5, 6 & 7 and the other category comprises of graduates with other qualifications but without teaching qualifications.
He further states that with the current strategy and mode of training for the TITs should rectify past mistakes that allowed recruitment or employment of untrained or uncertified teachers .
A graduate primary teacher who has been teaching as an untrained teacher for almost 27 years, Mr. Thompson Kionimae said, he is comfortable and feels like a real teacher. All along Kionimae did not feel like a real teacher although he taught for 27 years at Tawanaora primary schools.
He recalled that prior to becoming an uncertified teacher he was working as a bank officer. He left his job as a bank officer when his community was looking for a teacher in 1996. He said that was the moment he was motivated to pursue a career in teaching and he never regretted it.
He acknowledges the MEHRD through support of aid donors for providing an opportunity for him and his fellow graduates to upgrade and equip them with appropriate qualifications.
“I can say I now feel like a teacher,” he said.
He adds that with his qualifications, he is now equipped with the right knowledge to be involved in teaching service.
He said the TIT course was tough, but through team work and support from each other they managed to make it through.