Ministry of Education, Guyana

Thursday, 27 January 2011 09:52

Baksh stressed partnership approach to improve education delivery

Education Minister Shaik Baksh yesterday issued a clarion call for a closer partnership between his ministry and school managers to improve education delivery and students performance in 2011.

The Minister who was at the time addressing scores of headteachers and senior teachers of Region Two at the Anna Regina Multilateral School said this approach is critical in ensuring greater accountability from headteachers and that stakeholders get value for their money.

He emphasised that the Ministry of Education has the measures and policies in place, notably the Education Strategic Plan to transform the education system and it is time that headteachers and their senior staff put their shoulders to the wheel to effect the desired change.

Literacy and numeracy, he pointed out remains the heart of the plan and the goal is to ensure that students who leave the primary level are able to read, write, comprehend and master basic numeracy concepts.

Baksh noted too that more attention is being given to make schools more child-friendly as against being teacher-centered and this was recognized by a UNESCO survey which reported that Guyana has made significant strides in this regard.

The Minister singled out Region Two education officials for praise, noting that the concept of child-friendly schools was first piloted in that region. He also lauded the Region’s performance at the last CSEC examinations but called for better results at the upcoming examinations.

Baksh stressed that with the implementation of the National Grade Four Literacy Certificate this year, more pressure will be placed on teachers as well as parents to produce better performance from their charges.  That examination, he said will allow the Ministry of Education to gauge the literacy standards of pupils and no longer will poor performing headteachers be allowed to hide as the unsatisfactory performance of their school will be published in the newspapers.

He also said that those headteachers who have shown no signs of lifting the standard and learning outcomes of their school after two years will be placed before the Teaching Service Commission (TSC).

The Minister underscored that the primary objective is to correct the weaknesses in literacy and numeracy at the primary level to do away with the six year programme and the heavy remediation at secondary schools to address these problem.

Parents, he said have a vital role to play in this progress by not only providing material support to their children but also making sure that they attend school regularly and punctually and their performance and behaviour are closely monitored school.

On a different note, Baksh said he wants more students in the Region to write Information Technology (IT) at the CSEC examination and promised that all secondary school in the Region will be equipped with IT laboratories this year. He also announced that an IT centre will soon be established in the Region for the training of teachers and explained that the aim is to equip every teacher with the requisite skills to use the computer as a teaching and learning tool.

He also called on the University of Guyana to develop online degree programmes for teachers. This development, he said will allow teachers to dedicate full attention to their students, rather than leaving school to attend the university.  It will also significantly aid the Ministry to achieve its target of having at least 50 per cent of trained graduate teachers in the system, Baksh said and noted that if UG cannot delivery this innovation, his Ministry will be soliciting the services of the University of the West Indies or the Commonwealth of Learning.

Chief Education Officer Olato Sam who also addressed the gathering stressed that quality teachers are linked to quality leadership and implored headteachers to embrace accountability, pointing out that they are intimately responsible for what happens at their school.

He appealed to teachers to craft their lessons to cater for the varying learning abilities of their students, particular slow learners. No child, he said should be left behind and underlined that once the weaknesses in literacy and numeracy are corrected at the primary level, the foundation is set for them to do well at secondary schools.

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