US$5.12M project launched to help boost teacher quality
Aimed at improving the effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of quality teacher education, the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the World Bank yesterday launched the Guyana Improving Teacher Education Project (GITEP).
The event which was held at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) saw the attendance of a number of prominent officials from both the World Bank and the Ministry of Education and other organizations. A number of trainee teachers were also among the gathering who witnessed the auspicious undertaking.
According to Project Coordinator, Mr Tota Mangar, the venture is valued at US$5.12M, of which US$4.2M will be garnered through a World Bank Credit. Other financiers include the Government of Guyana and the Commonwealth of Learning and Local Sources.
Once the project would have taken its course, it is anticipated that there will be more effective performance of teacher educators and student teachers; more efficient provision of teacher education, that is, reduced time and more focused content and supervision; better use of resources and improved management of teacher education programmes, according to Mangar.
As such, the main beneficiaries of this venture will be the teacher educators and administrations at CPCE and the University of Guyana’s School of Education and Humanities; students teachers, teachers and school children.
According to Mangar, the project is designed in such a way that it will serve to bring to fruition a reduction in the time to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Education (B.Ed.) to four years, characterised by a two-year Associate Degree (ADE) and two years to complete the B.Ed.
With this programme in effect it is expected that 80 percent of teacher educators will fulfill the minimum qualifications of their updated terms of reference in alignment with the delivery of the new ADE and B.Ed. programme.
Mangar pointed out, too, that it is expected that the percentage of the student teachers scoring 80 percent or above on their practicum performance assessments will climb to at least 70 percent. In addition it is predicted that percentage of teacher educators scoring 80 percent or above on their performance evaluations which includes classroom observation will reach 75 percent. The Project is also geared at realising an increase in trained teachers at the primary level by seven percent and an increase in male beneficiaries from 16 to 20 percent.
The project will be divided into three components with the first being directed at improving the quality and efficiency of teacher education delivery and will attract a cost of US$2.65M. This component, Mangar informed, will entail the development of appropriate courses and terms of reference for administrators, faculty, lecturers and tutors at CPCE and UG’s School of Education and Humanities.
It will also address the provision of support for improving the quality and implementation of the practicum for the ADE and B.Ed. programmes and the designing and implementing of an induction year for all ADE graduates.
The integration of the information and communication technology in the teaching and learning process and the support of the transition of the dual mode delivery of initial teacher education programmes will also be addressed in component one, Mangar said.
With a designated value of US$1.93M, Component Two will focus on the strengthening of the management of CPCE and the School of Education and Humanities at the University of Guyana as well as the improvement of library access and resources. Directed at communications, project management, monitoring and evaluation, Component Three will usurp a total of US$54,000.
Speaking about the genesis of the programme, Minister of Finance, Dr Ashni Singh said that he had proposed in the inception that “it would be better if we could identify one or two areas where we could really make an impact and it would be better for us to implement, perhaps, projects in maybe one or two priority areas and have that real impact, rather than to try to do many things and end up having no impact at all.”
And it was coming out of that observation, Dr Singh said, that the Government was able to negotiate and agree with the World Bank, and derived a country assistance strategy which served to identify two sectoral priorities – one on education with a specific emphasis on quality and another on environment with emphasis on climate change.
According to Minister of Education, Shaik Baksh, in the area of teacher education and training “we want to see the transformation of Guyana through this initiative…” He noted, though, that in the area of teacher education there are many challenges and complex issues which are not all related to infrastructure.
As such, he noted that addressing this area of the sector has required “…deeper thinking and we have benefited from a number of consultancies, and in this regard the World Bank was very supportive in ensuring that the foundation was laid for this project.”
World Bank Representative, Dr Chingboon Lee, underscored the point that the project could not have been possible without the strong commitment, on the part of Guyana, towards improving education quality.