Ministry of Education, Guyana

Thursday, 17 September 2015 00:00

US$1.7M early childhood project launched - Education Minister says ‘it’s a win for everybody’

Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry addressing the gathering at the launch of the Early Childhood Education Project yesterday. Sitting at the head table (from left) are; Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Simona Broomes; Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Valarie Lowe; Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock; First Lady, Sandra Granger; and Regional Education Officer, Charles Holmes Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry addressing the gathering at the launch of the Early Childhood Education Project yesterday. Sitting at the head table (from left) are; Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Simona Broomes; Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Valarie Lowe; Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock; First Lady, Sandra Granger; and Regional Education Officer, Charles Holmes http://guyanachronicle.com/

In aid of further developing this country’s human resource capacity government through a grant received from the World Bank on Wednesday launched Guyana’s Early Childhood Development Project to the tune of US$1.7M, in Bartica. The project, which was birthed out of intense discussions by early childhood educators and relevant officials, aims to improve emergent literacy and numeracy outcomes for children at the nursery level and primary Grade one in hinterland regions and targeted remote riverine areas.

It comes at a time when Guyana has essentially attained Universal Primary Education (UPE) and is currently pursuing the achievement of Universal Secondary Education by 2020. The objective is based on the Ministry of Education’s 5-year Nursery Education Action Plan (NEAP) which finds alignment with the Global Partnership for Education Strategic Plan 2012-2015.

But according to the Ministry of Education, this project would achieve its development objective through the implementation of its four components.

Project components

news 20150918 3Capacity building for nursery and Grade one teachers is the first component of the project which will receive US$650,000 aimed at improving the quality of instruction and learning at the nursery and Grade 1 levels by strengthening teachers’ contentment of knowledge and pedagogy, particularly with regard to the implementation of new strategies for the development of emergent literacy and numeracy skills, through an in-service teacher training programme.

The second component of the project is improved supply of teaching and learning materials which will be allocated US$400,000. This would support the procurement and distribution of ECE resource kits to all nursery and Grade 1 classes along with a Teachers’ Manual for their use. The kit contains resources that explicitly target numeracy, Science and Inquiry, Dramatic Play and Music, Art and Craft and Social Studies. Primary caregiver education is the third component of the Early Childhood Development Project which will receive US$350,000 in aid of further supporting the development of emergent literacy and numeracy among children in participating schools, and among their siblings not yet of age to attend nursery school.

news 20150918 2According to the ministry, this is done by reinforcing parents’ efforts and abilities to promote children’s learning at home. But this is to be done through parent seminars, resource and information support through the Learning Resource Centres (LRC), a mass media campaign, and hands-on parental coaching.
Finally, Project implementation support, Administration, and Monitoring & Evaluation is the fourth component of the project. Support for project implementation and administration, and ensuring appropriate monitoring and evaluation of project implementation, impact, and fiduciary matters is covered under this component which will be allocated US$300,000.

Beneficiaries

Direct beneficiaries of the project includes; children attending the two years of nursery education and Grade 1, aged 3 ½ – 7 years, living in hinterland regions (Regions 1,7,8 and 9) and targeted remote riverine areas. This comprises about 8,000 children in these three grades each year and their families.
Approximately 440 nursery and Grade 1 teachers would also benefit from improved working conditions and training. Additionally, several thousand primary caregiver in these geographic areas would also benefit from education tailored for them.

Speaking at the event which was held St. Anthony’s Primary School in Bartica, Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry was keen to note that the initiative is “a win for everybody” since not just children will benefit significantly, but so will their teachers and parents.
She explained that this project is one which provides an opportunity for children to reach full potential, since it allows parents and teachers to work closely, to create the environment conducive for learning.

news 20150918 1Underscoring that early childhood is a critical period for development in an individual’s life, Minister Henry noted that it is also important for children to be allowed, both by teachers and parents, to develop at their own pace.
The symbolism of this initiative being launched in Bartica, she revealed, is to reaffirm government’s commitment to decentralisation, which was mentioned during the pre-elections campaign. Highlighting that once nations invest in their human resource, particularly at a very tender age, it can develop the human capacity of the country, was the World Bank representative, Ms. Hongyu Yang.

She related that this undertaking by the two bodies, namely the World Bank and the Ministry of Education is a team effort which was by guided by the ministry. But although a successful implementation and execution of the project is anticipated, the representative of the financial institution urged officials to recognise the challenges which will arise during the implementation stage. Nevertheless, she assured the gathering that the institution will continue to work with the ministry, even in the face of challenges, to ensure it is successfully executed within the given timeframe.

news 20150918 4Delivering remarks at the ceremony which attracted a few hundred was First Lady, Sandra Granger, who emphasised that, “When we build education processes, we build better citizens and strong communities and a better nation.” She explained that children need to learn their “roots,” so that it provides them with an opportunity to realise what historical settings they were molded in.

“Children must understand and learn where they come from and where they are heading. When we educate our children so early we put them on the road to building better lives for themselves” the First Lady told the gathering. Present too at the event, was Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock, who lauded the initiative and pointed to the fact that children in remote areas will be targeted which will enhance the delivery of educational services provided to them.
He noted that this project comes at a time of “great expectation” given the Government’s commitment to development of education and delivery of quality education all across Guyana. To this end, he told those in attendance that every child is the responsibility of everyone around them and Guyanese should endeavour never to fail them.

The ceremony which consumed the morning hours also facilitated dramatic presentations by parents and teachers of children at the nursery level and young patriots, no more than five years of age, singing national songs. Also present at the event were: Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection Simona Broomes, Regional Chairman of Region 7 Gordon Bradford, Regional Education Officer Charles Holmes and other ministry officials.

Source:http://guyanachronicle.com/

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