Ministry of Education, Guyana

Thursday, 27 January 2011 09:43

Baksh emphasizes effective leadership to improve students’ performance

Education Minister Shaik Baksh yesterday underscored the need for effective leadership on the part of headteachers to maximize the potential of their teachers and to ensure better learning outcomes from students.

He expressed these sentiments to headteachers of Region Four at the Diamond Secondary School. The meeting was the first of a series of similar engagements with headteachers throughout the country to outline the Ministry’s thrust to improve education standards and delivery in 2011.

Baksh who was accompanied by Chief Education Officer, Olato Sam and his Technical Advisor, Roopnarine Tewari stressed that if headteachers demonstrate sound leadership of their school, ultimately the performance of students will improve and there will be less intervention from the regional education authorities.

He explained that this does not mean that there will be no supervision; rather it will empower headteachers to better handle some of the challenges relating to quality education delivery and students’ outcomes confronting their respective schools.

Foremost in attaining this level of management, the minister pointed out is the need for school managers to embrace accountability, effective policy implementation and regular feedback on the performance of teachers under their supervision as well as students.

He also noted that though infrastructural matters of schools do not fall directly under his purview as these are dealt with by the Ministry of Local Government, any school environment which is not conducive to learning is a concern to him.

He said that his Ministry is working with the Ministry of Local Government to have these issues addressed, particularly as it relates to inadequate furniture for schools.

Baksh reported that more monies would be available in the National Budget to address this problem and while some of the work will be done by private contractors, the technical institutes will also be involved in the building.

This development, he said will enable these students to earn while they learn and will better help them to perfect their trade. All of these matters, Baksh said cannot be solved in 2011 but the objective is to ensure a significant portion is dealt with and that schools can operate as effective learning environments.

Schools in Georgetown, he said have been least affected by these problems, notably because they have an asset management plan and efforts will be made to have this system implemented in every region.

On a different note, the minister commended the teachers of Region Four for the creditable performance of students at the last Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations. The Region obtained an overall pass rate of 67 per cent and was placed second in the country.

Baksh pointed out this performance must be bettered in 2011, particularly in the areas of Mathematics and English.

He said that his Ministry has made available resource personnel at the National Centre for Education Resource Development (NCERD) to work with teachers, textbooks and compact disks with lessons in Mathematics and English have been provided to every school and a request has been made for more attention be given to these two subject areas at Grade 11.

At the primary level, the continuous assessment programme, the new literacy methodology which includes the literacy hour and accelerated literacy instruction periods, the Interactive Radio Instruction programme, the Fast-track Literacy programme and the National Grade Six Assessment are all currently being evaluated to correct areas of weaknesses and to ensure pupils are literate and numerate by the time they complete the primary cycle.  The Literacy Certification Assessment at Grade Four which is critical in ensuring all students attain the prescribed literacy benchmarks has also been introduced and will be conducted in June, 2011 for the first time. The Ministry of Education has also instututionalised remediation programmes both at the primary and secondary levels to correct students’ weaknesses in Mathematics and English.

These interventions, Baksh said are geared to bolster students’ performance at both the CSEC examinations and the National Grade Six Assessment and all school managers and too parents have to come on board to make these programmes deliver the intended results.

In all of this, he noted that issues of better remuneration for teachers, improvement in teacher training and the available of more resources to aid learning cannot be excluded and the Government has been looking into these matters.

The Ministry of Education is currently in negotiation with the Guyana Teachers Union for a better remuneration package for teacher; teachers can now obtain an Associates Degree in Education for the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) in two years and move across to the University of Guyana (UG) and complete the degree programme in another two years. This is unlike the previous system where it took a teacher nine years to become a trained graduate- three years at the College, had to wait two years after graduation from college to attend UG and four years at UG to obtain a Degree in Education. The Ministry of Education also provides free text books and other learning resources to schools. An Education Channel is expected to come on stream this year to further aid the learning process and this will no doubt be supplemented by the Government’s move to provide every family with a laptop computer.

Sam who also addressed the gathering emphasised the need for greater accountability from headteachers and said greater efforts will be made to help them to focus more on the delivery of the curriculum. The improvement in literacy and numeracy standards, he said will be his central focus and more attention will be placed on developing pupils’ capacity at the pre-primary level. The, goal the Chief Education Officer said is to ensure that students learn to read at Grade Two. This, he said has been achieved by some public and private schools and can be achieved by all schools, though not overnight but overtime through hard work and dedication from teachers at these two levels.

Read 3248 times Last modified on Monday, 15 August 2011 09:52
You are here: Home Media Baksh emphasizes effective leadership to improve students’ performance