Education Ministry appoints Science Coordinator
- Anticipates more participation
The Ministry of Education has decided to appoint a Coordinator of Science. The result of the decision was recently realised, according to Minister of Education Shaik Baksh.
“We recognised that there was a need to do something and therefore we established a position here at the National Centre for Educational Research Development (NCERD) for a Coordinator of Science Education.
“She has been working across the country and has been putting up plans and programmes to improve the numbers of students who are opting for the Sciences.”
And so far there have been limited successes with the introduction of this intervening measure, the Minister noted.
In examining the sciences over a five-year span, the Minister revealed that in the area of chemistry in 2006 there were 680 students who sat the examination at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), a figure which grew to 949 this year.
Those that sat biology in 2006 had amounted to 1,000 in 2006 but this year it was 1,115, with physics being 577 then and rising to 666. “The numbers are growing and I am pleased about that…I am not too pleased but I am satisfied. So our efforts have been working,” the Minister asserted.
According to the Minister, in the Ministry’s five-year strategic plan there are various objectives in this regard outlined that must be accomplished by 2013. For this reason, he noted that efforts must be directed towards doubling the number of students undertaking science subjects.
“I would like to see far more than double. I would like to see more and more students and I think we can get there in two to three years time.”
So far there have been satisfactory results in the area of Integrated Science which has already seen a 40 percent participation of the CSEC cohort, which amounts to about 4,500 of the candidates.
However, he noted there is a need for a move away from that single science area so that candidates can take the individual sciences. There has also been a noticeable increase in the area of agricultural science, the Minister noted.
According to him the overall percentage pass rate has been good, revealing that in terms of physics there was a 69 percent pass rate with grade one to three at CSEC this year. Of the 666 candidates who passed, 460 attained grades one to three, Baksh asserted.
“That’s a good performance… It just shows we have the capacity in Guyana to promote our science subjects. But in terms of the overall percentage for each subject as against the overall CSEC student enrolment for these subjects which amounts to 11,443, a mere 5.8 percent represents the amount that sat physics for example. We want that to go to at least 25 percent. These are the targets we are setting ourselves.”
The Ministry has been strategising and has even been exploring various means which could help the Ministry to achieve its desired results. This move is especially crucial as Guyana is now on a mission to build a novel society in which research and development and science and technology Acts are vital.
According to the Minister unless there are growing numbers of human resources, the plans will in no way come to fruition.
“As a developing country we want to make a take off to transform our country. We cannot only depend on research and development overseas…we need the local expertise to adapt to suit the Guyana situation,” he added.