Nov 06, 2009 News
The need to improve the quality and increase the quantity of trained teachers to deliver the curriculum in the public education system has been a notion highlighted in nearly every facet of society.
This disclosure was made by Chief Planning Officer, Mrs Evelyn Hamilton, during the commencement of a two-day workshop held at the National Centre for Educational Research and Development (NCERD) yesterday.
The workshop which had its genesis through collaboration between the Ministry of Education and the World Bank is aimed at reforming delivery of teacher education.
It was in recognition of the needs of the sector, Hamilton said, that the importance of teacher education and teacher training was incorporated in the Education Ministry’s Strategic Plan which is in fact a cross-cutting issue.
“It is there when we talk about improvements in science, information technology, technical and vocational education and training.
Every single thing that we talk about, even early childhood care, somewhere within it we talk about improving the quality of our teachers.” According to Hamilton, the Ministry has been intensifying the training of teachers in a number of areas, but she noted that there is currently the need to “pull everything into a cohesive programme.
We need to look at everything and see what all of the elements are and bring them together into something that is coherent and consistent.”
The Chief Planning Officer expressed her optimism that through the workshop, which saw the attendance of a team from the World Bank, representatives from the Cyril Potter College of Education, the University of Guyana and Central Ministry of Education Personnel among others, the education sector would be steered along the desired path.
Hamilton said it is expected that at the end of the workshop, some firm conclusions will be derived, and serve to complement and solidify proposals made at a previous forum.
Education Minister Shaik Baksh declared the workshop open yesterday even as he underscored that his Ministry’s Strategic Plan is very close to his heart. As such he noted that it is important that much effort is directed towards the monitoring and evaluation of the plan.
He reminded that within the next two weeks, a one-day retreat will be held to focus on the progress.
“Senior managers of the Ministry will now have to account for their stewardship because they were required to put up one-year operational plan for each of their areas of responsibility.
We will be doing this at least twice a year to ensure that we are on target.”
He recounted that it was just about two years ago that the Ministry started to scrutinise teacher education and training, adding that as Minister he was just not satisfied. “I got the feeling that things just were not moving in this area in several dimensions, one of which is the quality assurance issue…Were the graduates coming out from the CPCE up to the required standards that are expected of a teacher?
The same can be said about the graduates of the University of Guyana, were they of the required standard?”
In addition to examining several other areas, Baksh said that a Task Team was implemented about one year ago – a management mechanism now being widely used within the Education Ministry. The team, comprising of top managers of the Ministry, has since been able to come up with a report which entails recommendations that have already been introduced to the system.
“That report we have started to implement already, even before this reform agenda is concretised through the support of the World Bank on this teacher and education project.”
The Ministry, Baksh said, has already been working towards getting all of its unqualified teachers trained, adding that “for too long and too many years we have wasted time in taking positive action.”
Through the Teaching Service Commission, Baksh disclosed that notices have been sent to teachers warning them that they must be qualified within a given time frame, ultimately increasing the number of trained teachers in the system.
The goal of the workshop is to articulate components of a project that can be supported by the World Bank, clearly identifying where additional funding will be needed.
As such, the intent of the project is to have the various components link back to the objective of improving the learning achievement of the Guyanese students and ensure the right balance between theory and practice to equip teachers with the ability to effectively facilitate learning.
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