Oct 03, 2015 News
Under the theme, “Quality Educational Leadership: Improving Schools from within,” the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) yesterday hosted its annual open day, the first of which was held, last year October.
The open day was said to be borne out of the need for encouraging criticisms while also sharing with stakeholders and showing people what the College is all about. “We want to hear the negative and positive criticisms as this will provide an opportunity to improve on what we’re doing,” Principal of the College, Viola Rowe explained.
In attendance were Minster of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine; teacher trainees from the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD), the Georgetown Technical Institute and the Confucius Institute and students from schools across Guyana.
They expressed hope that more sister institutions will be partnering with them next year.
An average of 30 booths was available at the open day with the seven main departments of the College participating. The participating departments were: Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, Information and Communication Technology. Other booths were displayed in areas of Agricultural Science, Home Economics, Industrial Technology, Science Department, Student Development and a special needs booth as well as one for support staff.
The satellite centres of Rose Hall, New Amsterdam, Vreed-en-hoop, Georgetown and Linden were also represented.
The open day which was set to be an enjoyable experience, proved to also be an educational one for the many students in attendance. The innovations of the trainees were displayed through the various projects available at the booths and around the showcase area.
Displays of creative projects done by the trainees elicited positive responses from those in attendance and some were even termed, “creatively unique,” as the highly interactive materials amazed them. Trainees also captivated students by frying potato chips through the power of solar energy.
Rowe told this publication that among the problems CPCE has faced in recent years has been the perception held by the public towards the institution.
“The perception out there has been for a little while that Cyril Potter College is not doing enough for teachers. We send them out half baked, they’re not complete products but in our view and by our standards they are complete. We provide initial teachers training where we give them the foundation knowledge and skills on which they have to build. So when they leave here they leave as novices, not experts and I think this is where people get confused. They expect that once they have graduated from CPCE they should be experts but expert development would take time,” asserted Rowe.
She disclosed too that the Associate Degree Programme which was implemented in 2010 came under a lot of criticism as it was not believed that they were ready for such a programme. The programme, however, was said to be successful so far as batches have since graduated in the years 2012, 2013 and 2014. “There are some areas which need improvement but we are working to improve things,” she assured.
However, during his address to the audience, Minster Roopnaraine spoke of his experience as a University of Guyana Lecturer where he taught several students from the Cyril Potter College.
He revealed that he would normally receive students in his class from CPCE and they were amongst some of the slowest and weakest in the class. “I say that because it is very important that our trainee teachers acquire not only the skills of imparting what they know but the skills for enlarging and deepening what they know.”
In addition, Dr Roopnaraine admitted that not enough attention is being placed on “Special Needs Education,” and related that efforts will be maximized by the Ministry of Education to attend to these needs. The Minster also stressed the importance of strengthening the PTA systems across the education system as the partnerships between parents and teachers need to be fostered as they both play major roles in a child’s development. Promises were also made by the Minister to circulate the lyrics and musical notations for the popular Guyanese song, “Not a blade of grass,” across schools in Guyana as he believed this was the best way of letting “our presumptuous western neighbours know that we are not parting with any part of our country.”
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