Earlier this week, the Ministry of Education made another significant step in the completion of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Enhancement Project.
Funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the principal components of the project are the construction and outfitting of two technical institutes. There are also provisions for meeting the training needs of teachers in the sub-sector.
According to Minister of Education, Shaik Baksh, speaking at a press briefing on Monday, the project caters for the execution of several consultancies aimed at improving the overall governance of the sub-sector and establishing the institutional framework for the further development of TVET in Guyana.
One of these consultancies, Baksh revealed, calls for the consultant to design a continuous training programme for technical teachers. He noted that the contract has already been awarded and the consultant is working to complete the job within the next three months. Completion will see the launching of an in-service training programme that may see all of the technical teachers in the system having their skills upgraded to include new teaching methodologies and embracing advances in the specific streams and fields.
The project itself provides tools, equipment and teaching resources and facilities for work to be done in at least nine programme areas, which have been determined based on the needs and existing technologies in the industry. These areas are Masonry, Carpentry and Joinery, Agricultural Mechanics, Electrical Installation, Motor Vehicle Mechanics, Welding and Plumbing, Fitting and Machining, Information Technology and Secretarial Science.
The Minister revealed that the training programme will also cater for a full-time, two-year, pre-service initiative. This initiative will see persons just out of school with just Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects getting training in the technical/vocational subject areas, before they embark on a technical teaching career.
Baksh also highlighted that all of the teachers in the programmes will see their Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills supplemented by ICT training. The Ministry’s push on ICT training, however, goes well beyond the TVET enhancement project, and is in fact being rolled out across the board to all teachers.
At a press briefing last week, Baksh pointed out that last year the Ministry trained some 3,000 teachers in basic computer literacy programmes and plans to train another 3,000 this year. The intention being that all teachers in the system will at least have a basic competency in the use of computers.
But the Ministry has no intentions of stopping at a Basic Competency level, instead, according to Baksh, there are already 500 teachers who will move up to the second module of computer literacy-based training. This module, he noted, encompasses a deeper knowledge base and integrates the use of education specific software packages.
In an effort to ensure that ICT becomes an integral part of the teaching system in the immediate future, the Ministry has also made a special effort to set up “large laboratories” at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) and the University of Guyana (UG) to be used by the teachers receiving training in these institutions. The intention, Baksh stated, being that every single teacher must have more than the basic training in computer literacy.
Baksh also spoke of a programme to provide teachers with laptops under the teacher improvement programme. This announcement comes on the heels of a donation of some 400 netbooks to the Ministry by two overseas-based Guyanese businessmen just a few weeks ago.
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