Education Minister, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, says progress has been made in discussions between the Ministry and the Jamaica Teachers Association (JTA) on the proposed Jamaica Teaching Council Bill. The Bill, which the Minister is working to have tabled in the House of Representatives during the current 2012/13 parliamentary year, seeks to provide for the establishment of a governing body for the teaching profession, and institute a regime for the licensing and registration of all government paid teachers. It also gives legal powers to the Council to immediately suspend and cancel the registration of a teacher, who is charged for what is deemed a disqualifiable offence, which includes: sexual offences, murder, pornography, robbery, and fraud. Speaking at the JTA’s Roll of Honour Award Ceremony at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel on Thursday (November 8), Rev. Thwaites informed that the Ministry and JTA, supported by representatives of the church and Parent/Teachers Associations (PTA), have reached a “substantial agreement” on the terms of the Bill. He said that the legislation will provide for “the professionalism of the teaching profession”. “This legislation should not cause any more trepidation than the Legal Profession Act does for the lawyers or the Medical Act (does) for the doctors, or for any other profession. It would…be a serious reproach to teachers if they resist such a move. I am pleased (about) the commitment of your association, in this regard,” the Minister added. Rev. Thwaites recently disclosed that the Bill had undergone upwards of eight months of consultations with various stakeholders, while informing of plans for further dialogue with additional interests before it is tabled in Parliament. Meanwhile, retired Principal of the Mandeville Primary and Junior High School in Manchester, Byron Farquharson, is this year’s 43rd inductee into the JTA’s Honour Roll. He was presented with the Berger Paints-sponsored Roll of Honour Award by the company’s Caribbean Regional Managing Director, Warren McDonald, and a special Citation, by JTA President, Clayton Hall.