– Minister Baksh
The education sector has been able to provide full access to education at the primary level but according to Education Minister, Shaik Baksh, the Ministry is still tasked with the responsibility of moving from access to success.
The Minister noted that this move is in fact a challenge to the Ministry, since it has to continuously monitor and supervise the school system at the primary level to ensure that the grade assessment system which was introduced a few years ago, works.
He explained that there is still need to scrutinise the programme so that at each stage remediation takes place thus ensuring that no child is left behind.
And in order to boost the ongoing programme, the Minister disclosed that stronger systems have been setup.
“Inspectors have been expanded; we have professional officers visiting the regions we have the regional education managers visiting the schools…and more effective supervision, evaluation and reporting takes place. I am quite sure that if this continues in the next few years we will see a qualitative improvement.”
At the same time, the Minister said, a strong literacy programme is being introduced in grades one, two and three with all of the resource materials necessary even as teachers are trained to effectively implement the programme.
He noted that success at the primary level of education is not only dependent on supervision even though it is one crucial aspect, adding that schools as a key unit of education will have to be more self-generating.
“We have to get a core of teachers across this country to really be dedicated and committed…we have thousands of them but we need to do more.”
According to the Minister unless the dedication trait becomes a reality the sector will not succeed, thus making it the role of the central ministry to ensure that it happens.
Meanwhile, the Minister lamented that at the secondary level the Ministry has not been able to achieve universal secondary education.
“There is a deep cry for secondary education and I see this more in our hinterland communities. The children travel miles and miles to go to a secondary school, they live away from their homes for months in dormitories. There is that yearning and we must satisfy those expectations.”
As a result, the Minister said that outlined in the Ministry’s Education Strategic Plan for the next five years is a major goal to provide each child in Guyana with a secondary education.
“This goal will call for additional resources to build some more secondary schools…it will call for more resources to train more of our teachers because this is a challenge to have qualified graduate teachers in secondary schools in their numbers to achieve our results.”
The Minister related that in many instances some teachers have not lived up to the expected standard because of the fact that they are not graduate teachers, thus emphasising the need for more graduate teachers to be recruited.
Minister Baksh further divulged that at the post secondary level, the Ministry is working towards strengthening technical and vocational education, adding that Guyana is offering a two-tract approach, one being academic and the other vocational.
“This is happening all over Latin America and the Caribbean, it is nothing new but we are on track and we are expanding our vocational programmes through the secondary schools…but we have to strengthen it and we have to work a bit quicker.”
According to the Minister, at the end of the day, one of the many objectives of education is to prepare the youths for the world of work, thus everything possible must be done to ensure that they are equipped with the relevant skills.
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