With the unprecedented challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed on the regional education system, Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, MP believes that Guyana and the Caribbean must address the socioeconomic disparities that affect students and teachers.
The Education Minister was on Thursday delivering the feature address at the official announcement of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) and Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination results.
“The digital divide and other similar equity issues were brought into sharp focus during the deep fissures in those possessing the wherewithal to adapt and those ill-equipped to take on those adjustments became very pronounced.
“It is therefore vital that as we examine strategies and approaches for the advancement of education within the region, equal attention is given to address the structural and systemic barriers that inhibit those in our respective territories from effectively participating and benefiting.”
Minister Manickchand said it is critical that the region is candid about the harsh realities the pandemic has forced on its people. More importantly, she highlighted how essential it is for people to learn the key lessons as a way of buttressing, improving and sustaining those improvements for future education systems.
“To all the students in Guyana and the region, I commend your reliance and efforts in face of such daunting challenges over the past year and half. You should be extremely proud of yourself and should use this experience to propel you into even greater achievements in the future.”
Meanwhile, Registrar of CXC, Dr. Wayne Wesley said despite the unprecedented challenges, they were not insurmountable.
He stated that over the past two years, the capability and ability of all normal systems have been tested, revealing the inadequacies and vulnerabilities in the regional education system. He, therefore, pointed out the imperativeness for member states to develop a greater level of resilience in the education sector.
“This, at the very least, requires a robust and sustainable development infrastructure and operation systems to become responsive and agile. While the emerging narrative is to build that stronger, I dare to say at this point that it is more than just building that strong backbone, but it is about building back sustainability,” the registrar said.
Dr. Wesley said such events connote a rebuilding effort geared towards resilience, operational flexibility and government’s integrity and accountability.