The Jamaica Teaching Council (JTC) was established as a part of the education transformation strategy to improve the quality and coverage of education nationwide. Its fundamental purpose is to professionalize the teaching profession. The Council advocates for the teaching profession, and its ultimate goal is for the teaching to become the profession of choice.
The establishment of JTC is a response to the Task Force on Educational Reform Report (2004) outlining the vital role of teachers in increasing the achievement levels of learners. Specifically, the report pointed to the need for greater accountability of educational personnel and strategies that will ensure a high quality, high performing teaching profession. The Report also took note of the existing constraints of the teaching profession, in the administrative and management structure of the education system.
The Ministry of Education (MOE), in recognition of the challenges of the education sector, endorsed JTC as a body responsible for: a) regulating the teaching profession, b) building and maintaining competences of teachers, and c) raising the public profile of the profession as a change agent to societal reform and development in the context of the Social Policy vision for Jamaica.
At the regional level, the Commonwealth ILO-Caribbean Teachers Policy Forum, held in Trinidad and Tobago in April, 2006, prepared the La Romaine Action Plan which inter-alia pointed to the following:
- “establishing regional and national teaching councils to monitor, direct and advise on the development and maintenance of standards for teaching and teacher education”
- “ensuring that teachers and teacher representative participate in the process that culminates with the acceptance of the standards”
The Regional Framework for Action (2000), the outcome of the Education for All meeting in the Americas, to which Jamaica is committed, calls on the Caribbean Community to “implement systems for assessing teacher performance and for measuring the quality and levels of achievement in the profession, following basic standards agreed upon by teachers’ unions and other organizations”
At the international level the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, (1966 and 1997 p.23 Section IV (e)) calls upon countries to recognize that “various branches of the teaching service should be coordinated in order to both improve the quality of education of all pupils and enhance the status of teachers.” Hence the establishment of the JTC is also a response to regional and international recommendations to which Jamaica has committed itself.
In recent times, the global dialogue has put teaching and the teaching profession on the post 2015 agenda. This is evidence of global acceptance that education for all will not be a reality until the challenges of teachers and teaching are met.