Innovating on a Shoe-string: A Western Caribbean Case Study describes the imperatives that impelled the Joint Board of Teacher Education, JBTE, Mona, in the late 1990s, to begin to design and implement innovations applying technology to its mission and mandate. The JBTE is a unique partnership in teacher education involving Governments, colleges training teachers, teachers’ unions in the Bahamas, Belize and Jamaica and the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. The JBTE was set up in the mid-1960s to validate and guarantee standards. One of the main reasons for locating the JBTE within the structure of the University of the West Indies was to facilitate the application of research, development, and innovation to the achievement of desired standards. Essentially, the JBTE not only set and validated standards in teacher education in the Western Caribbean but also provided developmental assistance to colleges training teachers to meet the set standards.
The paper describes the main new challenges posed to the partnership in the late 1990s with respect to the modernization of instruction; upgrading quality related to the emerging knowledge society; the provision of on the job professional training to teacher educators, teacher trainees and teachers in service in schools; shrinking resources from Ministries of Education; globalization especially with respect to emerging common education standards at the tertiary level; and the need for Caribbean societies to become greater producers of knowledge.
In response to the demand to meet these challenges, as well as to find solutions to these very real problems, as they affect teacher education, the JBTE has identified information and communication technology as a critical resource and have embarked upon the following initiatives:
The Paper lists the six major technology solutions that the partnership planned, five of which came off the drawing board and were implemented. Of the five that were implemented three have been sustained. Of the two that were implemented but not sustained the Paper gives a detailed account of the development of a College Management Information System (College Manager) up to 2001. The intention was to design, develop and give the College Manager, free of cost, to all fourteen colleges training teachers within the JBTE Partnership. The Colleges, however, would have the responsibility to implement College Manager within their operations,