Ministry of Education, Guyana

Developing Managerial Capacity and Making the System more Accountable

There is a need to continue strategic efforts in developing managerial capacity and making the system more accountable.

A recurrent issue raised by stakeholders, in particular parents, is the need for a better supervision system. The general consensus was that it was ineffective at both the school and regional levels. At the school level it was felt that head teachers and other senior administrators lacked management skills. These were also problems that were highlighted in consultations for the previous plan.

Considerable emphasis was given to changing this during the last four years. The Ministry, through NCERD, has trained over 500 school administrators in management through an 18 month distance education programme and more recently a Masters Degree programme is being offered by the University of Guyana in collaboration with an American University for administrators at school and regional departmental levels as well as potential managers of the system. The Ministry now needs to assess whether the management training has had any impact on the organisation and management of schools.

In a further effort to enhance managerial capacity and general supervision of the education system, several organizational changes have been made at the central level in the last year. The first was the Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Development (MERD) Unit. This unit which is headed by the Deputy Chief Education Officer, formerly responsible for Development, takes under its umbrella, the Inspectorate Unit. The Inspectorate Unit was tasked with inspecting 10% of approximately 1000 schools across the country everyyear. Limited human resources, through loss of staff due to retirement or promotion made meaningful and effective inspection to improve the standard and quality of education almost impossible for the Inspectorate to achieve. With the new model of the MERD Unit however, meaningful and effective supervision can be achieved. In this model, the Unit will conduct monitoring visits to each region at least twice a year using appropriate monitoring and evaluation instruments. A sample of the schools in the regions, especially poor performing schools, will also be visited in an effort to validate the data presented on them by the Regional Education managers. Hence, MERD will assess pedagogical needs of the Departments of Education and enhance the capacity of Regional Educational Managers in the monitoring of schools in their regions.

Another organizational change at the central level was the establishment of the Policy Implementation and Monitoring Unit (PIMU). This unit is now headed by the Deputy Chief Education Officer (PIMU) who was formerly the Deputy Chief Education Officer (Administration). This unit was established as a result of the high degree of non-compliance and poor monitoring and implementation of policies in the education sector. The PIMU will take under its umbrella the Schools Welfare Services, Parent Teachers Associations and the School Board Secretariat. PIMU will now be responsible for general administrative functions for the education system and implementing and monitoring of all policies and regulations, especially those related to corporal punishment , financial regulations and relevant matters, release of teachers to attend the University of Guyana, issuance, care and maintenance of textbooks, establishment of private schools and related matters, placement at nursery, primary and secondary levels through the respective Assistant Chief Education Officers (ACEO) and the Placement Unit, rationalization of staff at the different levels through, the respective ACEOs, gazetting and grading of schools and ensuring the appraisal of all employees. There are indications that these changes will improve accountability but it is still too early to assess the impact. There is however strong support for these changes.

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