Senior education officials within the Ministry of Education (MOE) have come down hard on school managers in Berbice for their ad hoc promotion of students to new grades. The officials expressed concerns that teachers seem not to be trying hard enough to ensure that students are promoted smoothly from one class to the next.
Newly-appointed Technical Adviser to the Minister of Education, Roopnarine Tiwari, urged the head teachers to use the results analysis document, referred to as the schedule, to investigate students’ performance and make effective decisions on promoting those children.
He said that teachers ought not to “hand over the children” to another teacher; he said that is not promotion. “Pay attention to every single one of them [students]”, he said.
The adviser said that the teachers receiving new batches of students must know what academic level of children they will be getting. If the teacher is aware of learning difficulties and problems, then the students can be better helped.
He asked head teachers not to sit in their offices all day but to peruse the school and carry out their duties. “If you are interested in seeing growth and development of your children, you will work beyond the call of duty,” he told the gathering.
He alluded to the deep concern of himself and the Minister of Education for the state of education in Guyana. He said that he and the Minister would be discussing issues about education in Guyana very late at nights on the telephone.
He stated that the head teacher is always the person who is responsible for the poor performance at the school level and urged them to put systems in place to deal with low achievers so that results can be lifted.
He also warned head teachers not to let students finish the curriculum before the stipulated time, as many cases have been investigated where some CXC teachers finish teaching all the work by January, prior to the May-June exams.
On the issue of textbooks, which was raised by numerous head teachers, Tiwari stated that the MOE has a Textbook Policy which schools ought to follow to the letter. He said that the Ministry has been spending millions of dollars on textbooks every year but some schools are not ensuring proper care of the books by students.
“Books must be allocated to students and used during class session, not left in the cupboards to be infested with wood ants,” Tiwari warned.
Speaking on quality education delivery, Chief Education Officer, Olato Sam, said that the literary expectation of the MOE is that every student will know to read by the end of Grade 2.
He said that the teachers at these levels in the primary school have an important task to ensure that students know to read by this level or there will be problems later on in the child’s life.
“Teachers must catch students during this window period of opportunity because it becomes incrementally hard later on to teach students to read,” Sam said.
He said that teachers must not let students fail willy nilly.
And he lauded the Nursery head teachers and teachers whom he say produce amazing and enthusiastic little ones but said that something happens to these children when they reach the primary school and they somehow lose that zest they would have gained in the nursery schools.
The emphasis of the MOE, he said, is to ensure that no student leaves the primary system without knowing to read.
He spent quite a while of his presentation speaking to nursery and primary heads because he said that if the MOE gets it right at the nursery and primary levels, the job of the secondary school teachers becomes easier. (Leon Suseran)
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