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Teachers Test Not A Pass or Fail: Healey

The Fiji National University stands ready to assist the Ministry of Education in developing programmes for the teaching of English writing and grammar. However, Vice Chancellor Professor Nigel Healey said
25 Jan 2018 11:00
Teachers Test Not A Pass or Fail: Healey
Fiji National University Vice Chancellor Professor Nigel Healey

The Fiji National University stands ready to assist the Ministry of Education in developing programmes for the teaching of English writing and grammar.

However, Vice Chancellor Professor Nigel Healey said it was not the role of the university to teach people how to speak English.

While commenting on the English proficiency test that was administered to graduate teachers late last month, Professor Healey said there was a lot of misunderstanding about the test.

“The proficiency test given to the teachers was not a pass and fail test. It was designed as an instrument to assess the professional development needs of incoming teachers,” Professor Healey said.

“When teachers start teaching on day one they are not the finished article, they are novice teachers.

“We have given them preparation into the classrooms but they are going to continue to learn and develop as they teach and for all teachers they need to have a programme of what we call professional development where they are kind of up skilling and clearly there are going to be some teachers who are primarily teaching in vernacular languages and whose English is not as strong as the ministry would like.”

He said students enrolled into tertiary institutions at the age of 18 and 19 after secondary schools and the role of the institution was to teach them the disciplines they would teach, including communication skills.

“Our role has never been English language training for the young students, however, we are working with the ministry to see how we can support teachers in service and we already do a lot of that but if it is clear that the teachers need support with developing a kind of English grammar and writing programme than we stand ready to help out with that.

“We are actively discussing whether we need to look again at our entry standards,” he said.

“All of us in the education field are kind of reflected on this.”

He said the university was also thinking about setting up an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) testing to support students with their development needs.

“We do not know a great deal about the test that was administered, who designed the test and who administered it. This has happened quite quickly and as responsible educators we are thinking very hard about it.”

The test was also given to teachers who had applied for posts within the ministry.

Edited by Mohammed Zulfikar

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj



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