Aug 21, 2010 News
The Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) has so far received some 1500 applications for the commencement of the new academic programme in September, a record-breaking figure compared to an average of 900 over the years.
This number, according to the Ministry of Education, is expected to further increase as the college has extended the application deadline to this month end.
Education Minister Shaik Baksh has said that some 300 of the applicants who applied to the college but did not satisfy all the entry requirements will be enlisted to undergo remediation program(s) in either English or Mathematics or both of the subjects.
Baksh, who was at the time addressing a group of volunteers at the college, also disclosed that of the total number of applicants, only about 500 have met all the entry requirements.
According to data from CPCE, some 190 of the applicants are males but only 72 are qualified and about 300 persons have applied for the pre-service mode. Fifty-five of these applicants are males.
The remaining applicants are interested in pursuing an in-service programme. The average annual intake at the college including its 14 satellite centres is about 600 students. He called on those applicants who did not gain entry into the college to exercise patience as they will be given preference next year once they have upgraded themselves.
Baksh pointed out that his ministry is looking to establish regional centres to upgrade these applicants who have a vested interest in educating the nation’s children.
He also stressed that males will be targeted in this intervention in keeping with the objectives of a national campaign to encourage more males in the system to ensure a gender balance in the profession.
The Minister told the 40 volunteers who recently completed a three-week orientation programme designed to prepare them to serve in the hinterland regions to use their spare time to upgrade themselves academically to qualify for entry into the teachers’ training college next year.
He said his ministry will be looking at their needs and they will be provided with distance package(s) in Mathematics or English or both subjects free at cost as well as the services of a tutor from National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) to guide them in their studies.
“We want to take care of you, to mould you and to give you an opportunity to not only fulfill the vision of the National Teachers’ Volunteer programme but also prepare you for career of lifelong learning,” Baksh said.
This development, he said, is part of a wider program on teacher education and training reform geared to produce more quality teachers in the school system and to enhance students’ performance.
The Ministry of Education is moving in this direction to avoid being left behind in terms of standards and quality compared with other sister CARICOM states.
The college from September will be introducing an Associate’s Degree in Education (ADE), replacing the Trained Teachers’ Certificate Programme.
The ADE significantly reduces the study duration for a teacher to obtain a Trained Teacher’s Certificate and a Bachelor’s Degree in Education.
Students who successfully complete the Associate’s Degree in Education will only have to study for two years at the University of Guyana (UG) to obtain a Bachalor’s Degree in Education.
In essence, with the new programme on board, a teacher can become a trained graduate in four years, unlike under the previous programme where this process required seven years behind the books – three years at CPCE and four years at UG.
Baksh noted too that quality teachers, produce quality students and plans are in place to ensure that lecturers with first degrees at the college acquire their master’s degree.
He stated that there must be a paradigm shift in the delivery of education at the college. This, Baksh said, must include a redesign of the curriculum to de-emphasize knowledge content which leads to cramming and regurgitation.
The new curriculum design and delivery methodology, he articulated among other things must emphasize processing, problem solving, developmental, technical, communication, reasoning and interpersonal skills.
The Minister said also that the Information Technology laboratory at the college will be fully equipped and modernized to meet the standard requirements of a teachers’ training institution and every teacher who leaves the college will be able to use the computer as a teaching and learning tool.
Significant strides being made in education – Baksh
“Over the last year or two Guyana has been making significant strides in secondary education,” said Minister Shaik Baksh. The Minister’s remarks were forthcoming yesterday as he provided a detailed summary of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Examination results.
The results, according to the Minister, reflect that there has been an increase in the number of candidates as well as the number of subject entries. The candidate entries for the CSEC examination last year were 10,243 – a figure which was surpassed this year by an all-time high 11,362.
“We have been seeing continuous growth over the years. More and more students are entering for the CSEC examination as more and more take advantage of access to secondary education.”
The subject entries have also markedly increased from last year 57,715 to 63,889 this year, the Minister added. The analysis of the 2010 CSEC results revealed that the overall pass rate at the General and Technical proficiencies for Grade One to Three was 66.2 percent while Grade One to Four was 85.8 percent.
Candidates from Guyana were offered 34 subjects at the examination. Of the subjects offered, the results indicated excellent performances in 14 subject areas, the Minister disclosed.
Those subject areas are: Agriculture Science (DA), Agriculture Science (SA), Clothing and Textiles, Food and Nutrition, Home Economics Management, Information Technology (General), Integrated Science, Religious Education, Social Studies, Theatre Arts, Electronic Document Preparation and Management, Physical Education and Sport, Building Technology (Const.) and Building Technology (Woods).
Excellent performances were also recorded in 21 subject areas where the pass rate exceeded 90 percent with Grade One to Four passes while satisfactory performances were recorded in 17 areas where Grade One to Three passes exceeded 50 percent and the Grade One to Four passes were in excess of 75 percent.
Compared to the results being attained by Trinidad, Barbados and Jamaica, Guyana is almost on par when the students gaining five and more subjects with Grades One to Three at one sitting is considered, the Minister asserted.
However, he noted that the weak subject areas continue to be those of Mathematics and English. For this reason, he disclosed that there have been several interventions.
“Through the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) we have mounted special certificate programmes where large numbers of teachers have been trained in content and methodology in English and Mathematics and this is ongoing.”
As such, the minister is optimistic that there will be notable improvements in the subject areas in the years ahead. This development, he said, will be further improved with Distance Education modules which are intended to specifically target CSEC students.
“We have also sent out the CDs to all schools, and students can have access. This will supplement the teachings that are obtained at the school level. So we are really providing more and more resources across the country to ensure better results and to bring greater equity in education at both the primary and secondary levels.”
However, the greatest challenge remains the adequacy of teachers in some subject areas such as Science
and Mathematics, Baksh noted. He revealed that the Ministry is focusing on increasing the number of teachers. It was against this background, he said, that the Cyril Potter College of Education has sought to attract the greatest number of applicants.
“Never before in the history of this country have so many applications been made and this is in the light of our reform agenda for teaching education and training. And we will endeavour to attract more males from that batch of persons who have applied…”
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