Deputy Chief Education Officer urges UG Masters students
Deputy Chief Education Officer (Administration), Ms. Donna Chapman says that the education system in Guyana is going down instead of going up.
She was speaking recently to a group of first –year Master of Education Degree students of the University of Guyana at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) Conference Room at Turkeyen.
“Why is the education system going down? “Because you, myself and others are contributing to that—and we’re not stopping to say, we can do better!”
The educators were participating in their final presentations for the course Issues, Policies in Education Advanced” EFN8101, lectured by Former Chief Education Officer (CEO), Mr. Ed Caesar.
She reflected on the glory days of the education system in the past, “but we’re in a place now where everyone who thinks they are a graduate or post- graduate believes you can’t be wrong!”
She registered her dissatisfaction with senior education officers who become upset when their letters with grammatical mistakes and errors are sent back to their respective education departments in the Regions.
“Our school and business community need administrators and managers of a high caliber…not only with GPAs of 3.0 and 4, but those who can think on their feet—those who possess the most problem solving skills and can think of a plan ‘B’!”
Guyana needs people, she said, who can think critically. “Guyana needs a generation of thinkers, movers and shakers. And Guyana needs that now. We’re not in a good place. If we say that we are in a good place, we are fooling ourselves.”
The quality of a Master’s student must be seen in the things one stands for and believes in, in the various schools.
She urged educators to continue to implement the Health & Family Life Education (HFLE) programme in the schools, “but it’s as if we have to beat people to teach that in the schools.”
She urged the educators to adopt good attitudes and skills, not only in the workplace.
She reminded them that they are not only attending the University of Guyana to become qualified. The education they attain at UG, she noted, “must work for you in the society and in the world at large.” “It’s not the letters behind your name that count; it’s what you do. The onus is on the students to make a difference.” In addition to the qualifications they attain, they would be gaining positive values and life skills.
She urged the senior educators to copy the attitudes and behaviours of their role models in education, including Mr. Ed. Caesar.
She longs for the day when she and her other seniors and retirees in the education system can, “sit back in our rocking chairs and see that the education system is in good hands.” She also urged more partnership and collaboration between UG and the MOE on the issues that students write about, especially for research purposes. Ms. Chapman hoped that each student’s education final thesis is shared with the MOE. “Continue to work hard; make a difference in your schools; share your information; and if you do that, incrementally, there will be a difference in this country,” she added.
Mr. Caesar, during brief remarks, questioned whether Guyana is really making progress in the education sector. “I say this because we seem to be caught up with results; we seem not to be too much interested in the development of young people, in order to cause them to live and work in our society.”
The former Chief Education Officer noted that there is a strong need for a decent manpower plan, “in the sense of identifying where our needs are and cause people to be trained in those areas, so that our young people…can be prepared for the working and living in Guyana, and contribute to the development of this country.”
Some of the issues dealt with by the educators included: Equality of opportunity in the education sector is unachievable; the role and responsibilities of School Boards must be re- examined if these are to contribute to school effectiveness and Performance at the CSEC Exams results will improve significantly if greater emphasis is placed on the training of teachers.
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