The National Literacy Department of the Ministry of Education today launched the Male Achievement in Education Programme at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD). This is a pilot programme being rolled out in collaboration with the Ministry’s Secondary Sector, its Health and Family Life Education Unit, Loyola University, Chicago and the Guyana Defence Force.
Professor at Loyola University, Dr. Tavis Jules said that research has shown that a country’s human capital is the most vital resource that it needs to utilize. He said that the pilot programme will target those male learners who wrote the last National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) but failed to achieve a passing grade.
He said, “What we’re proposing here is the targeted intervention towards those students, particularly boys, that will help them to achieve the competent reading grade by the time they get to third form (Grade nine).”
Dr. Jules explained that when thinking about male underachievement we also need to consider what is the outcome if the problem isn’t addressed. He said that male underachievement is a crisis that was not recognized early because a lot of investment was made in the education of girls. He said that at the beginning of the millennium, research revealed that gender parity is something that needs to be worked on since historically the emphasis has been on getting girls into school.
“What we have seen now is that because we’ve spent the last decade focused on getting girls in school, we have neglected the boys and because we’ve neglected the boys, everything from absenteeism to traumatic incidents whether they are at home or school, are now causing a distinctive set of behavioural problems. Those behavioural problems are ultimately impacting their academic achievement,” Dr. Jules explained.
He said that the programme will seek to capture male learners who fall into this category and bring them up to their reading grade standard by using the Health and Family Life curriculum.
According to the Professor, the HFLE curriculum will be used because it targets literacy and helps to develop interpersonal skills.
Mr. Sheldon Granville, Education Officer within the Secondary Sector said that the Unit supports the programme and considers it a matter of national importance to address the issue since every child can contribute to the development of Guyana.
Mr. Kevin Joseph, Education Officer attached to the National Literacy Department said that the programme will be supported by the Guyana Defence Force where Lieutenant Colonel Chichester and team will mentor the male learners who will be apart of the pilot programme. The programme will target five schools initially and will expand in the future to target more schools and learners.