– New educational channel also to be implemented
By Rabindra Rooplall
A new legislation will be implemented where it will be compulsory for parents to send their children to school from three years nine- months old (pre-primary school), and from next year there will be a Grade Four national literacy certificate introduced within the school systems.
Minister of Education Shaik Baksh, who made the announcement, said that if students failed to be certified at Grade Four then there will be remedial classes in grade five to improve.
According to the Minister, at the nursery level there is 85 per cent coverage across the country, while Guyana has achieved Universal Primary Education, which is one of the Millennium Development Goals–total access to primary education.
Adding that one of the challenges of the Ministry is to ensure that each student comes out of primary school literate and numerate, Baksh said there are many interventions in place for that to be done, so when students move on to the secondary level of education they will be able to immediately benefit from the education at that level.
He explained that it was discovered that many students were coming out of primary school and they were not prepared for higher classes. However, “at a great cost the Ministry has introduced another year at the secondary level for students that had not performed well at the national grade six assessments.”
Baksh said that next year the Ministry is introducing a literacy certificate to Grade Four student who satisfy the standards to receive the literacy certificate nationally.
“No parent would like their child to go home at the end of the school year without a literacy certificate…and we will also publish the name of the schools that had not been performing well.”
He added that Private schools make up 5.2 per cent in the country. “I, as Minister of Education, would like to see that grow to 10 per cent…We have a vision to modernize the country and to illuminate illiteracy and to promote tolerance.”
Baksh disclosed that at present 86 private schools are registered with the Ministry of Education and “at the end of this month the Ministry will be hosting a one day workshop for the private schools for record keeping and data collection purposes…
“This will be in preparation for the new legislation which will have new regulations for permits that are granted for private schools to operate in the country.” However 15 of these schools have been able to comply with such regulations by the Ministry of Education.
He further explained that schools that were not able to comply would be given six months to get their ‘house in order.’ Some of the things that the private schools will have to comply with are; to satisfy the conditions of locations, standards of building, sanitation systems, curriculum etc.
The Minister said that more private schools teachers should be trained at Cyril Potter College of Education. They should also participate in the various workshops that are held to upgrade teachers.
Adding that the government will be implementing a dedicated broadcasting channel to disseminate educational programmers, Baksh said children can then tune into a channel that will benefit them, rather than watching unacceptable programmers that detracts children from the learning process.
Baksh also stressed that his Ministry views the expectations, challenges and requirements to move the sector forward as matters of priority and as such interventions are being made to advance the education agenda which has to place focus on the quality imperative.
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