Certification in the (Front of the) Classroom
While it's long been common practice to go to class to obtain certification, it's becoming more common to require teachers to certify as well. Certainly, that's the case for those who teach certification classes. Most cert sponsors require instructors to certify as trainers and also to pass the exam for the curricula they wish to teach (some programs, in fact, require would-be instructors to submit higher-than-passing scores to qualify).
These days, it seems there's more motion toward getting primary and secondary educators who teach IT subjects to obtain IT certifications as well. As I see it, this is a logical extension of the idea that certification aids in preparing people for the workforce. Because secondary and post-secondary teachers often play a crucial role in training tomorrow's workers, this idea makes great sense.
Welcome to Jamaica!
A story from the local paper in Kingston, Jamaica, caught my eye along these very lines. Under the headline "IT Certification to Become Part of Licensing Requirement for Teachers" (Dec. 26, 2018) it explains how that country's Ministry of Education, Youth and Information division, is working with the University of Technology, Jamaica, to pilot a teacher training program.
The hope is that teachers can improve their IT competencies to better deliver training and information in the classroom. In British English, what Americans call IT (information technology) is often called information and communications technology (ICT) instead. Thus, the article focuses on preparing student teachers who've not yet started working in the classroom, to better prepare them to use IT/ICT tools and terminology when they do show up to start instructing others.
The article talks about "a smart-learning environment" in which teachers can "learn skills independently in specially designed labs" as well as working their way through theory and fundamentals through more convention lectures and lessons. Faculty at the University of Technology intend "to eventually make the training mandatory for teachers."
Thus the long-term plan is to define and provide teachers with a "framework [that] sets out the type of classroom engagement that must take place." This means that, in Jamaica, teachers hoping to be licensed will be required to "demonstrate they have these competencies through certification." The idea, in fact, is to "give them skills for lifelong learning."
Basic Literacy for All, Basic Competence for Teachers
I happen to think that requiring teachers to demonstrate IT literacy and competency through certification is a great idea, and am hopeful that the pilot will turn into a smashingly successful program. This is something I'd like to see built into education curricula around the world.
At least a basic IT fundamentals certification, like the CompTIA IT Fundamentals+, or better yet, the International Computer Driving License (ICDL), should be a required element for anybody who wants to teach others in a publicly-funded classroom. Microsoft has taken this concept a bit further with its Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE) credential.
Surely, if educators everywhere put their fertile, well-trained minds to a basic building block for IT competency for teachers, the world could become a better place. Wouldn't it be nice to find out whether that's true?