— Education Minister
Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, has said that this year’s national budget will see teachers performing their duties in far better conditions.
The ministry is currently upgrading and expanding educational facilities in Regions One, Four, Nine and 10.
The minister made the disclosure, Monday, during an interview on News-Talk radio, in observance of International Day of Education, under the theme, “Changing Course, Transforming Education”.
“The budget is usually not just only salaries and benefits, but how we deliver resources and how we help to train and retrain our teachers and how we guide that process, would be large benefits that teachers can look forward to.”
The budget will also ensure every primary school pupil is provided with a wide range of textbooks, written by local and international authors.
Reflecting on the state of the education sector and training of teachers amid the COVID pandemic, the Education Minister said there have been significant learning losses and school drop-outs. To address this, a host of measures was implemented.
“This year, we graduated the highest number of students ever from the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) and that sounds like a small feat, but in August of 2020, the college was closed with no prospect or real plan of reopening in the pandemic.
“And if we had not made serious efforts not only to reopen, but to be accessible online and otherwise… then we would not have been graduating any child, let alone the largest batch.”
While the college has an annual intake capacity of 530, the implementation of online sessions has allowed it to register five times that number.
This approach, Minister Manickchand said, is in keeping with the PPP/C Government’s commitment to have every teacher trained or in training by 2025, to serve the nation’s future leaders. It also complements the ministry’s mission to promote lifelong learning through TVET education as well as continued education like the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) scholarships.
She added that while it had been worrisome for the ministry to craft a strategic plan to ensure the safety of students and teachers, the return to face-to-face learning presented opportunities to re-evaluate the curriculum, and place emphasis on practical methods. For now, the Education Minister believes it has been proven successful.
“We are moving forward, not blindly back into the classroom, but with a better understanding that different things that have not been introduced before, can deliver quality education effectively… it won’t be a complete abandonment of all that we learned in terms of how to use and how to use effective technology to deliver (education).”
Moving forward, the ministry intends to continue to provide opportunities to improve access to education which would include providing transportation and reading materials, among others. (DPI)