Updated: Oct 24
One of the achievements of the People's Revolutionary Government (PRG) was the implementation of a local teacher training program - NISTEP. The intent of NISTEP was to upgrade untrained teachers within the education system in Grenada.
At the time, the Grenada Teachers College was not sufficiently training teachers at the rate needed to support the education system. Only about 50 teachers per year were being trained.
In June 1980, the People's Revolutionary Government (PRG), took the decision to implement a mandatory national in-service teacher education program (NISTEP). Before the decision was made, there was extensive consultation with teachers, the Ministry of Education (at the time, George Louison was the Minister of Education, later it would be Jacqueline Creft), and the Teachers union (Grenada Union of Teachers).
Meetings with teachers were held beginning January 1980 to understand the needs of untrained teachers. Thus, in June 1980, the PRG made the decision to move forward with a formal program for training teachers on a large scale. Thereafter, four (4) months of planning and designing the program occurred from June to end of September 1980.
The NISTEP program was officially launched in October 1980. The purpose of the program was to provide a more scientific and systematic way for the training of teachers.
The first cohort had 542 untrained teachers to begin. The teachers were a mix:
Young teachers without much teaching experience, yet holding more than 4 O'level passes (O'levels was the term, now it is CSEC passes).
Seasoned teachers with more than 10 years experience, but without O'levels.
Seasoned teachers with 10 to 20 years experience and holding 4 or more O'levels. These teachers were able to also complete the regional teacher college exams accredited by the University of the West Indies (UWI).
All teachers needed to be trained to improve their capacity to teach and deliver quality education to Grenadian children as part of the vision of the Grenada revolution.
The NISTEP program was staffed with 16 lecturers. The duration of the program was 3 years. Teachers worked for four days at their school, and attended classes on Fridays. During the vacation periods for the school year, teachers also attended classes. There were formal exams in Year 2 and Year 3 of the program.
Subjects taught under NISTEP were Language arts, Math, Education, Social science, Agriculture and health education.
Out of the 542 teachers, 320 teachers finished the program. Some dropped out seeking other opportunities outside of teaching or at other tertiary institutions. There were scholarships to go to Cuba and this was a main attraction, and rationale for the dropout rate.
The NISTEP program was responsive to the needs for short term training for new teachers and thus emerged "Induction training". Induction training is training in basic teaching methods offered to beginner teachers (still remains today). A total of 160 young teachers were trained in this way. The classes were held one day per fortnight, and upon completion, allowed the teachers to gain entrance into NISTEP.
Beyond training, teachers were able to receive salary increments once they received their certificates. The PRG was able to work with UWI to get the program recognized and accredited so that the certificate would be applicable in Grenada and in the wider Caribbean.
The upgrade of teachers remains one of the lasting successes and achievements of the Grenada revolution.
Source: Ann-Hickling Hudson - IN-SERVICE TEACHER EDUCATION IN GRENADA, 1981-1983: CASE STUDY OF A PROBLEM SOLVING STRATEGY
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