Jun 15, 2009 News
…needs support of Head Teachers in literacy drive – Baksh
In its quest to boost the level of literacy, the Ministry of Education has introduced a number of programmes even as it seeks to collaborate with Head Teachers in this regard.
As part of this venture, the Ministry recently started a programme for students of Grade Six.
According to Minister of Education, Shaik Baksh, the intent is to target those students that have written the Grade Six Assessment and did not achieve the desired score or those that are considered low achievers.
These students, the Minister said, were identified by their respective schools and are now engaged in the remedial programme, which will last for about one month to six weeks, depending on the literacy needs.
This move, the Minister related, will serve to help the students be better prepared for the transition from the primary to the secondary level.
“We feel that this is a very important remediation programme. We have already identified 45 schools for a pilot, that is, we will do pre-testing, to see where they are, and post-testing at the end to see how much they have developed along the literacy continuum.”
The results of the programme, the Minister pointed out, will guide the education sector next year on ways to strengthen the literacy initiative.
But according to the Minister, the Grade Six remedial programme is only one of the many literacy initiatives that have been engaged, even as he revealed that the Ministry has plans in place to introduce a literacy certificate for the Fourth Grade level.
Baksh highlighted the fact that Government in this year’s National Budget, allocated $251M towards the Fast Track Literacy Initiative, which is on stream across the country.
“I went to the Rupununi in the villages and it is there. We have 300 literacy educators in the system right now and we are targeting in-school youths and out-of-school youths. We have programmes like these in the technical institutes and we have adult literacy programmes.”
And there are already plans to expand these programmes, the Minister divulged.
As part of the literacy drive, students at the primary level have been benefiting considerably from the Cascade Model as well the Literacy Hour and Shared Reading Experience initiatives, Baksh related.
“From September, we will have a six year secondary programme. The focus in the first year will be on Reading, English and Mathematics. Seventy-five per cent of the timetable will be on that, so that these students can be better prepared to move on to the normal five years programme.”
And even as the Ministry expands its literacy drive, efforts will be made to ensure that students of Technical Institutes are exposed to literacy programmes that are complementary to the technical and vocational subject areas, Minister Baksh noted.
In order to maintain proper co-ordination of the various literacy programmes, the Minister disclosed that a Literacy Unit has been established within the Ministry.
“Reports coming to me suggest that things are improving. We are using our retired teachers in critical areas of the Grade Ones and Twos and at the Secondary Department of Primary Schools.”
The Minister related, that the Ministry has been re-hiring retired teachers to cater to some key areas in the delivery of education in the school system, even as he noted that from the beginning of next year a literacy programme is slated to commence at some Community High Schools.
In recognition of the fact that the Ministry’s Literacy Unit cannot identify all of the needed programmes, officials of the Ministry of Education will be meeting with some 300 Head Teachers today from around Georgetown, Regions Three and Four at Queen’s College.
“It is important for us to meet and consult with them to update them of where we are, what progress we are making and what challenges we have, so that we can work together to improve the overall standard of education in Guyana,” the Minister noted.
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