Ministry of Education, Guyana

Thursday, 27 January 2011 09:45

Baksh restates call for greater parental involvement in children’s education

Education Minister Shaik Baksh has restated the call to all education stakeholders, particularly parents, to increase their involvement and strengthen their commitment to working with his ministry to ensure the success of the nation’s children.

Baksh in a recent charge to headteachers at the commencement of the new academic term said teachers from all schools are now mandated to meet consistently with parents to discuss their children’s progress and collectively plan for overall improvements.

“We have also worked assiduously to ensure that PTAs are structured and are operating effectively in most, if not all schools across the country.  We hope that these efforts will be expanded and our schools will become true community schools” he said.

A recent international report published by UNICEF stated that Guyana “…has made significant strides in making schools child-friendly”.

Baksh stressed the need to improve this achievement in 2011 so that all schools become welcoming, clean and safe environments for children and teachers.

The increase in the number of students writing the CSEC examinations is highly encouraging and speaks to progress in reducing drop-out and providing viable options for students at the secondary level, he said.

Although the pass rates in Mathematics and English have improved, the ministry is satisfied with these levels and has implemented various strategies aimed at raising these scores; an approach which has gained the full support of all secondary school headteachers.

In addition, significant resources continue to be channeled into the secondary alternative pathways through the SCCP programme which has expanded over the past year.  The aim of the programme is in keeping with the ministry’s goal to ensure that every student leaves school with some basic levels of competency in the core subject areas.

Critical in attaining this goal, the minister pointed out is the foundation set for pupils at the pre-primary level.

“It is important that enrolment continues to increase so that more of our children can be guaranteed a solid foundation on which to build their educational futures,” he said.

A range of initiatives have been introduced to improve performance at the primary level, notable among the lot include 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.

These initiatives are currently being evaluated to strengthen areas of weaknesses and to ensure pupils are literate and numerate by the time they complete the primary cycle.  The Literacy Certification Assessment at the Grade Four has also been introduced and will be conducted in June, 2011 for the first time.

“We have gone beyond this to ensure our students are given support in are basic areas of need.  From reports received from every Regional Education Department, the introduction of the National School Feeding Programme has had a significant impact on students’ attendance and attention levels.  We have also been highly encouraged with the overwhelming response to the distribution of school uniforms and textbooks across the country.  We now provide support for students writing CSEC with CDs and study materials in English and Mathematics and our newly established Multimedia Centre along with the Educational Television Channel will go a long way in supporting classroom instruction with a range of supplemental resources,” he said.

However, the minister noted that in all of this, teachers have the most critical role to play and his ministry remains committed to supporting their efforts to improve performance standards.

“We have assigned Literacy Coordinators to every region and continue to train teachers and provide instructional support in this critical area.  In addition, we have developed the competency framework for teachers in the area of Information Technology which will support the infusion of technology in classroom delivery strategies.  We are on track in our efforts to equip our primary and secondary schools with functional IT laboratories and have acquired a range of supporting educational software to this end,” he said.

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