Ministry of Education, Guyana

Monday, 21 November 2011 09:58

Education Ministry expands mentoring programme

The Education Ministry in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Tackle Project has launched the extension of the Voluntary Mentoring Programme.

The programme is designed to empower secondary school students to develop useful stills to make important and productive life choices.

National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Coordinator Carol Benn speaking at the launch convened at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD), said the programme which is already implemented in five schools, will be introduced in five more schools.

These schools are: Campbellville, Linden Foundation, St Winifred’s, Fort Wellington and Pleasance secondary schools.

Benn said the programme targets some 3500 students, including those at risk, truants and those involved in school-based violence. This initiative, she contended, will be of great help to teachers and administrators in the school system.

“Today’s students are faced with far more personal and social pressures than any previous generation, and early intervention through a structured mentoring relationship has been identified as a successful and powerful way of enabling them to deal with these pressures. Mentoring works; it changes lives, is rewarding for both participants, and provides the opportunity for adult citizens to give something back to society.”

She added that the some 75 mentors who are part of the programme are thoroughly trained and prepared for their roles, noting that mentoring will be done at school, to strengthen contact and build an excellent rapport with students.

Education Minister Shaik Baksh said the programme plays a vital role in re-establishing proper values, attitudes and behaviours in students at schools where intervention is most needed.

He pointed out that goal is to produce academically successful and discipline students in the school system, and noted, the mentoring programmes is one of several interventions in this regard.

Others include the introduction of students councils, the introduction of the Health and Family Life Education Progamme (which is now a timetable subject in 70 schools), and the revival of PTAs in most if not all schools.

Baksh also noted the work of the Guidance and Counseling Unit in reforming indiscipline students, pointing out that the unit will be expanded to reach out to more students.

These initiatives, he said have been having an impact in reducing absenteeism, improving students behaviour and learning outcomes.

Chief Education Officer Olato Sam said the school is a microcosm of society, and the mentoring programme reinforces the African adage “It takes a village to raise a child”.

He stressed that education is a great equaliser, and the mentoring provides the avenue for students to not only overcome their challenges, but also get the motivation and support to excel academically as well.

Government/ ILSO Tackle Project Coordinator, Sharon Patterson also spoke at the launch.


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