Ministry of Education, Guyana

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Tuesday, 01 September 2015 19:30

Launch of Education Month - Minister Roopnaraine emphasizes the role of the PTA in education

The Ministry of Education today officially launched Education Month 2015 under the theme “Quality Educational Leadership: Improving Schools from within.” Today’s launch of education month coincides with the commencement of the new school year. This month of activities provides for the accentuating of the importance of education and gives a boost to the system as it enters yet another cycle.
Those were the sentiments of the Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine who delivered the feature remarks at the launch. He added that the new school year coincides with regime change at the governmental level - a regime change which provides for a review of the system and the chartering of the way forward

.“We have determined that both the review and the way forward should be evidence based and holistic. As a consequence, notwithstanding the anecdotal and intuitive prodding, it has been decided to undertake a number of initiatives that would inform future action. Some of these initiatives have already been undertaken, while others are in the formative stage,” Dr. Roopnaraine posited. Further, the idea is that the outcome of the initiatives will be feed into the melting pot of the deliberations of the National Education Council which will then make recommendations for the review of the sector`s Strategic Plan and the finalization of the draft Education Bill. The establishment of the National Education Council has already been approved by Cabinet.
“It is those two culminations that will be the embodiment of the way forward. The guiding principle in all of this is that what works will be retained, what can be salvaged will be salvaged, what does not work and is unsalvageable will be discontinued, and new initiative shall be undertaken,” the Minister explained. Additionally, the new initiatives shall reflect the thinking of the new regime with regard to the education system while providing for its synergizing and completeness.Launch of Education Month 2

With regards to the Education Month theme, Minister Roopnaraine indicated that it clearly points to the need for effective leadership in the delivery of education and the improvement in the manpower, content and the manner of delivery. Those points will be highlighted in the new strategic plan and final draft of the Education Bill.

“From the leadership perspective it is anticipated that the managers of the system would be objective oriented and would constantly monitor the system to ensure that all of the required elements are in place and at work. Meanwhile, from the manpower perspective the challenge will be to ensure that their preparation is relevant and that they are committed to the task and client friendly in their attitude; and from the delivery perspective the issue of methodology of delivery and the technology for delivery would be the critical factors,” he explained.

Importantly, another critical element is ‘content’ which should be focused on depth and breadth; and provide a sound basic knowledge base in the form of a core of subjects covering the sciences and humanities, inclusive of the arts, which provides for the development of a rounded person.
“In that regard, ways and means must be found to enhance the curriculum through integrative and multi-disciplinary teaching with ample provision for extra-curricular activities...it is quality that should be sought after rather than mere quantity,” Minister Roopnaraine emphasized. The education system should therefore focus on developing quality citizens rather than certificate achievers.

While that approach is envisaged in the manpower development plan that is in the making at the level of CARICOM; the role of the PTA throughout the system needs to be energized, activated and created. “We cannot undertake or believe that the education of our children stops in the classroom…parents have more time with their children than teachers,” Minister Roopnaraine stated. Having recognized that these meetings are mostly attended by mothers, the Minister called on fathers to begin to play a more active role in the education of their children.

He recognised that the challenge here is for the emergence of a governance model that is inclusive, transparent and equitable. “It is only on that basis that the objective of improving the system from within can be achieved,” the Minister pointed out.

Also addressing today’s gathering of school children, teachers and education officers was the Chief Education Officer, Mr. Olato Sam who in his remarks highlighted that the business of education cannot be effectively done by officers and teachers within the education system alone. “We need the support of all of the people in the nation…we need Guyana to make education a national priority,” he declared.

Mr. Sam pointed out that the theme for Education Month reflects what the Education Ministry intends to do, based on research which proves that three factors collectively contribute to the effective school environment, namely: the need for committed educated teachers who are adequately trained and are competent to deliver on a daily basis, support from the community and parents and strong leadership.

He stressed that this message of leadership must be spread throughout the education system and to all educational institutions, and added that there is ample evidence that some things are working in the Ministry, which is reflected in the accomplishment of Guyanese students at the CXC.

While turning his attention on the teachers, Mr. Sam highlighted that the teaching profession must reclaim its prominence because, in many spheres the profession and its professionals have been undermined and under-valued. “If we are to actually progress as a nation and fulfill our developmental objectives, our teachers need to be the ones who will lead that effort…our communities need to support our teachers, we as a nation need to ensure that they (teachers) internalize the deep sense of responsibility as duty bearers and that they execute their functions on a daily basis with the full knowledge that they are supported by this entire nation,” he stated.

Included in today’ launch was presentation of trophies by Marlene Chin from Sagicor Visionaries, to the Abram Zuil Secondary School in Region 2, for having won the 2014 leg of the Sagicor Visionaries competition.

Education Month is filled with exciting activities such as a technology fair, rally, open day at the CPCE, the JOF Hayes debate competition, literacy day and a seminar for head teachers.

 

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