Ministry of Education, Guyana

The 2008-2013 Education Strategic Plan is the fourth in a series of education plans during the last two decades. It is an effort to identify the priority policies and strategies Guyana’s education system needs to pursue in order to significantly improve its quality of output and help Guyana to meet the challenges posed by globalisation and rapid technological changes.

This planning effort had the support of the Government of Guyana (GOG) and the donor community in 2002, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) gave support for the activity through an International Consultant provided through the Basic Education Access and Management Support (BEAMS) programme. Assistance was also received from the World Bank for more detailed planning on specific issues. The Planning Unit used its own regular resources from the national budget to complete the necessary activities.

Among the most pressing issues affecting people in Guyana is HIV and AIDS. The Ministry of Education has therefore taken the decision to position HIV prevention within the context of an holistic programme of school health and nutrition activities and it sees the education sector as having a vital role to play in the country’s response to the epidemic. During the last five years the main vehicle for implementing the education component of the HIV and AIDS programme in schools has been through the Health and Family Life Education Programme (HFLE). Recent evaluation of this programme highlighted the need for additional training and effective monitoring of the teachers trained to deliver the programme.

Focus will be on:

Improvement of Physical Facilities/Infrastructure

Children are likely to learn better when in safe, comfortable buildings with sufficient space and adequate facilities. Good physical facilities also affect parents’ attitude to the school and teachers’ morale in a positive manner. Improving physical facilities is therefore a key factor in improving education delivery.

Early Childhood Education

The Ministry proposes to have nearly full coverage (over 90%) at the Pre-school level by 2013. An additional 20% of the 3 to 5 age cohort will be attending Pre-School/ Nursery. To accommodate the increased numbers and to provide purpose built structures in some communities 8 new discrete nursery schools will be built, 20 primary schools will be extended to accommodate nursery classes and 46 classes will be established in primary schools that have space during the five year period. Special attention will be paid to those communities where enrolment at this level is low.

This is an important and difficult issue that should be understood as a necessary but insufficient ingredient in the strategy to improve the system of education in Guyana. It is only a means to an end. It should also be understood, as it was pointed out before, that management here is used in the broadest sense possible. It refers, not only to administrative issues, but also to educational ones. It has to do with everything involved in the processes of education and the administration of the system. Management activities are therefore outlined in almost every component of the plan, but more particularly under Monitoring and Evaluation. There are some activities which are overarching and do not fall easily under any specific component.

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