With the introduction of the newest measure to boost the delivery of education – the Educational Television Broadcasting Service (ETBS) – a number of employment opportunities are likely to open-up.
According to President Bharrat Jagdeo, who launched the channel on Friday at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD), the possibility exists that the Ministry of Education will buy content to broadcast.
“It can spawn into an industry and I hope those who are thinking about working in content for television… that they start preparing themselves. There is an opportunity that the state will buy content if it has educational value,” the President asserted.
However the suitability of content will have to be decided on by the Ministry of Education, the President noted, adding that “they will buy content from people to put online that has a distinct Guyanese-Caribbean flavour because we don’t want to just import content with a set of values that are alien to our culture.” He pointed out though that while the fact remains that there are some universal values there are yet some that are unique to Guyana and the Caribbean.
Underscoring the point that the channel is a supportive mechanism to online educational efforts and physical access, the President pointed out that efforts must be made to retain the support of the best experts to ensure that the channel is a true success.
“We need to get some of the best teachers and we have done some of this already, doing this sort of stuff, and not just using teachers…How do we allow our culture workers to start putting their content online too?”
The President recounted that it was just a couple of years ago he had suggested that efforts be made to convert to DVD the entire syllabus, inclusive of Maths, the Sciences and English, in order to distribute, free of cost, to households. However, with the advent of the channel, he noted that this move may very well become irrelevant.
“The idea was that if people didn’t understand the lessons on Calculus or Stats they could’ve gone back and looked at the DVD but this (channel) probably has overtaken that because you can do it now by broadcasting and people can record it…but still we need to have good quality content.”
The channel, according to Dr Seeta Shah Roath, is different from other channels in that it is a satellite broadcasting system which is backed by infrastructural systems to produce and acquire educational programmes to uplink signals to a satellite which has its footprint across the Americas. She revealed that in less than three months it is expected that infrastructure will be completed to download and retransmit in the 10 regions of Guyana.
“We will start out in the first phase where we will start in Georgetown and go right up to Essequibo, Berbice and to the very ends of the Coast, then we go into Linden, Kwakwani, Bartica and then we go further into all the Regions…So every single household, every school, every person with a television set will receive our transmission at the end of our complete infrastructural set up.”
In essence, Dr Roath said, the ETBS has pioneered the move to combine satellite with terrestrial transmission from origin (NCERD) to receivers (all of Guyana and beyond).
The ETBS signal is expected to be so powerful that, according to Dr Roath, “anybody outside of Guyana with a receiver could get our signal.” Additionally, programmes will be advertisement-free but will include public service announcements on health, education, and social issues.
ETBS is established along the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) model that India, Mexico, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada are using, and the content is intended to target pre-schoolers, kindergarteners, primary, secondary school students, early school leavers, life-long learners, parents, educators, farmers and others interested in instructional info-educational programmes in their areas of interest.
This initiative, she said, comes as part of Guyana’s ICTs development.
“We are creating and acquiring programmes that are entertaining yet educational; that are Guyanese and Caribbean and international; that follow, support and/or complement our academic curricula, our lifestyles, our culture and our development goals. We are attempting to capture our viewers’ interest, maintain that interest, achieve the different learning outcomes, inspire our viewers to think beyond borders, to be creative, and to really achieve their learning goals.”
As such, she noted that the ETBS’s message to all viewers is to “never give up. You can be whatever you want to be. You could achieve whatever you dream of as long as you apply yourself, make the necessary effort and work hard at achieving your goal.”
The launching of the channel, according to Minister of Education, Shaik Baksh, “heralds in a new era in the provision of educational services in our country.” He pointed out that this move is in keeping with the Ministry’s mission to modernise education and in so doing modernise Guyana. He noted too, that it is designed to allow for an expansion of access to educational programmes to all corners of the country and represents a strong vision of the Government.
Baksh highlighted that over the past two decades the education system has undergone significant transformations in response to the socio-cultural economic and political needs of the society.
“This is in line with the education sector’s contribution to both the material development of the country in the form of well educated and well trained human resources and in keeping with the objective of promoting harmony, equity and respect of all citizens of Guyana.”
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