– Minister Baksh
In recognition of the fact that a significant number of teachers do not have the content to deliver at the level of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), particularly in the area of Mathematics, the Education Ministry has developed several special programmes.
Aimed mainly at strengthening the Secondary School Programmes, Minister of Education Shaik Baksh said that through the Institute of Distance and Continuing Education (IDCE) and the Adult Education Association (AEA) a distance programme leading to a certificate in Mathematics will be made available to teachers. A programme of similar nature will also be made available to teachers in the field of English Language, Baksh added.
He further related that the Ministry will mount distance programmes in the areas of Science and Information Technology from January next year. The programmes are essential, Baksh said, as they are geared at upgrading teachers’ content, adding that methodology is not much of an issue today. “We found that a lot of teachers don’t have the content to deliver at the level of CSEC. So these programmes will have to be something that is done on an ongoing basis.”
Additionally, Baksh said that the Ministry will facilitate a series of focus workshops commencing during this Christmas Season.
The workshops, he informed, will continue in April, and are intended to address the content issues facing teachers of Mathematics and English. The Minister had spoken of plans for another distance programme, which was intended to augment the school system with aptly qualified teachers in the areas of Mathematics and English before this year end.
That move, he said, comes as part of the Ministry’s plan to improve the quantity and quality of teachers in the public education system. As such, the training initiative will cater to the training of Science teachers, who are in even shorter supply.
Regarding the move to train teachers as a special initiative, Baksh said that the Ministry has designed an 18-month certificate programme which is being undertaken through distance mode. The distance programme, Baksh disclosed is made available through the Cyril Potter College of Education and the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD).
This newspaper understands that two cohorts of teachers had commenced the first phase of the programme last year and should have already completed same. Another batch had also commenced the programme in January last.
Baksh, during a recent media briefing revealed that “we had to find innovative ways of bringing in other teachers to address the current shortage of teachers in the system.” Additionally, he revealed that the Ministry is also seeking to incorporate third and fourth year teachers from the University of Guyana.
Officials of the education sector had for some time recognised that there is an evident shortage of qualified Mathematics and Science teachers. According to the Minister, Guyana cannot be left behind “we have to move forward, improve and sustain what we are doing.”
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