University of Hawai'i
(808) 956-8856 Telephone
For Immediate Release:
January 12, 2001
CONTACT: Shawn Nakamoto, (808) 956-9095, University & Community Relations
|University of Hawai'i Introduces Plan For Teacher Education
on the Neighbor Islands|
HONOLULU- In his speech to the joint House and Senate education committees today, University of Hawai'i President Kenneth P. Mortimer unveiled a plan to implement teacher education programs on the neighbor islands in an effort to address the statewide teacher shortage. This plan was developed in response to a request by the 2000 Legislature for the University of Hawai'i and the Department of Education to develop a ten-year plan "that ensures the continuous offering of teacher education for the neighbor islands..."
The teacher shortage in Hawai'i has reached a critical point and this trend is expected to continue into the foreseeable future. The shortage of teachers is even greater on the neighbor islands where teacher preparation and professional development courses are not readily available.
The University of Hawai'i College of Education recognizes this need and has developed an outreach plan to prepare new teachers for the neighbor islands and to help retain existing neighbor island teachers by offering teacher preparation and advancement programs in Maui County, Kaua'i and the Big Island.
According to Randy Hitz, dean of the College of Education (COE), the demand for new teachers on the neighbor islands exceeds supply by a considerable amount, thus resulting in a teacher shortage that is expected to last until 2007. "By far, the best way to address the teacher shortage is to prepare people from the neighbor islands to become teachers," he said. "Often times, teachers recruited from the Mainland will remain in the islands for only a short period of time. In fact, there is only a one in five chance that a Mainland teacher recruited to Maui County will remain in teaching in Maui County after three years. By contrast, a Maui County resident prepared to teach is much more likely to remain in teaching within Maui County after three years. We have seen similar trends on the other islands as well."
The goal of this outreach plan is to continuously offer teacher education and advanced professional development programs for all of the neighbor islands. The COE will offer preparation programs in elementary, secondary and special education as well as advanced professional development programs for existing teachers. The COE programs will run simultaneously and continuously within in a cohort system (a cohort system allows students to enroll in the programs as a group and remain together until completion). New enrollments will take place only after a cohort completes a program. It is anticipated that 125 students will be enrolled at any given time.
Due to the fact that the other neighbor islands do not have population bases sufficient to make a program economically feasible, the outreach plan will offer distance learning. As many of the classes as possible will be offered via interactive video or computers, thus creating efficiency and minimizing the travel expenses associated with on-site classes. Program coordinators who reside on each island will supervise the clinical experiences. Additionally, funds have been budgeted for students when on-site instruction is deemed necessary (ie. students in West Hawai'i will have travel support to attend a class that is offered on Maui).
The outreach program will be launched with the Fall 2001 term with full
implementation taking place over a period of four years. In addition to
the University of Hawai'i at Hilo, classes will be offered at Maui Community
College, Hawai'i Community College and Kaua'i Community College.