Ministry of Education, Guyana

Thursday, 17 October 2013 17:33

Ministry of Education launches Portuguese Curriculum for schools

The Ministry of Education (MOE) today historically launched its Portuguese Curriculum for schools in Guyana at the Theatre Guild. This will be added to the French and Spanish curricula already being offered in the Guyanese school system. Attending the launching ceremony were school children, teachers from the modern languages departments of various schools in Georgetown, along with senior MOE officials.

Presenting an overview of the Portuguese Curriculum being introduced by the MOE was Deputy Chief Education Officer, Development, Ms. Doodmattie Singh who spoke of the conceptualisation of the Portuguese curriculum from an idea proposed by the Honourable Minister of Education, Ms, Priya Manickchand during the early part of this year, and lauded the persons responsible for its successful drafting and completion.

Singh alluded to some of the challenges facing the preparation of this Portuguese curriculum, but was empathic in her praise to the three teachers who spearheaded this historical initiative by the MOE, bringing it to fruition. Some of the core materials forming the Portuguese curriculum consist of workbooks, curriculum guides and a compact disc. “For our students we have two workbooks; one for in-class work and one for homework. There is also a CD for students to take home – one per child – to assist them in pronunciation. In addition, teachers will get a curriculum guide for grade seven – broken down into terms of scheme, a handbook: “Embracing Portuguese” and a copy of a text book entitled: “Everything learning Brazilian Portuguese,” Singh said.

The introduction of this new Portuguese curriculum will be piloted in five schools in Guyana from this year. The five schools earmarked for this Portuguese pilot are The Bishops’ High, Queen’s College, St Stanislaus College, St Rose’s High and St Joseph High. By the next school year, the Ministry intends to introduce the Portuguese curriculum to other schools in the country.

Delivering the keynote address was the Honourable Minister of Education, Ms. Priya Manickchand. She began by establishing a justification for the introduction of this new subject area in the school system in Guyana, as the influx of Brazilians and Brazilian culture and ultimately the Portuguese language are gaining prominence in Guyana. The minister questioned whether or not in contemporary Guyana, Portuguese might be of more relevance to Guyanese, as against French.
The Minister expressed her gratitude to all the education officers and teachers who are responsible for the successful completion of this new Portuguese curriculum. In addressing the students directly, the Minister mentioned the historical significance of the establishment of this curriculum. “For the rest of time you will always be the first set of students in this region and this country to be learning Portuguese in school,” the Minister said.
“Within the coming years, Guyanese students can be among the first set of students from the region to be writing Portuguese at the CXC level and gaining distinctions.”

The Minister indicated that preliminary discussions have already begun with the Registrar of CXC to have Portuguese placed on the CXC syllabus in the very near future. She was however very quick to point out that this will require long arduous work of which Guyanese educators are properly positioned to take the lead.
“Putting Portuguese on the CXC curriculum is not an easy task. This will require a CXC curriculum to be written, schemes of work would have to be done and text books would have to be written among other relevant materials. And who will be positioned to take the lead on this? You, our very own educators here in Guyana who have pioneered our first successful attempt at introducing Portuguese curriculum in our school system.”

As Guyana continues to strengthen its relationship with Brazil – the sixth largest economy of the world – the Ministry hopes that more Guyanese will use every opportunity available to learn Portuguese, and as a result be able to relate more effectively with their Brazilian counterparts.

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