Teachers were yesterday described as “agents of nation building” and “foot soldiers” when the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the School of the Nations, held a National Teachers’ Award Ceremony for
The ceremony, which was held at the National Cultural Centre, saw a total of 44 teachers being honoured in addition to six education officers. Although some of the awardees have since parted ways with the sector, their performances were outstanding enough to be recognised and duly rewarded.
Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, yesterday noted that the ceremony is in fact an extremely important event on the jubilee calendar. Guyana is currently celebrating 50 years as an independent nation from British rule.
Minister Roopnaraine, moreover, noted that selecting 50 teachers to be honoured is in fact a strategic move. “We recognise 50 outstanding teachers today but frankly, I think that today is the day we want to express our appreciation to all the teachers.”
According to Chief Education Officer (CEO), Mr. Olato Sam, although only 50 past and present educators were selected to be honoured yesterday, “the symbolism must not be lost since we are in essence reaffirming the value of the efforts of thousands who every day, in classrooms in every corner of Guyana, make a difference in the lives of our youth, the communities and by extension this nation.”
Sam noted, “We applaud your efforts, we salute you, our educators, for in your hands we have placed the canvas on which the masterpiece of our next 50 years will unfold. For the course of the time we will spend here this morning (yesterday) we will see the faces of individuals who did not only educate, they inspire, they motivate.”
Since the award ceremony yesterday represented part of the continued ‘Golden Jubilee’ celebration, Sam said that it should serve to remind all educators “of the deep national significant of their daily undertaking and instil within them the resolve to bill this nation one child at a time.”
Yesterday President of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU), Mark Lyte, who also spoke at the event, shared his conviction that all teachers possess some essential qualities.
Among these he listed knowledge, professional skills and personal qualities. “These teachers and education officers who are being awarded here today would not have been here, had we not recognised that in some valid way they would have brought to the classroom and the education sector knowledge, professional skills and personal qualities,” said Lyte.
Quoting the expression “give me a fish and I’ll eat for a day, teach me to fish and I will eat for a lifetime,” Lyte said, “This must be a philosophy of a good teacher.”
He added that the qualities of a good teacher should include being “patient, kind, flexible, resourceful, tolerant and open-minded with a good sense of humour, enthusiastic, enjoys teaching, should be honest, imaginative and creative, efficient, self-disciplined, helpful, humble and modest.”
And Lyte asserted that the selected teachers have easily demonstrated the ideal teaching ways. He asserted too that “good teaching is not about fashion, it is much about our teachers enabling themselves to work within the classroom setting and provide opportunities for the learners.”
But the GTU President observed that it could not have been an easy task selecting the teachers from among thousands across the country. As such he concluded that those recognised yesterday can in fact be described as the elite among the teachers…”
Lyte considered yesterday that teaching has long been recognised as a noble profession which helps to mould the minds of the young. As such he noted that the GTU is extremely pleased with the Ministry’s initiative to award the educators. “It is certainly a step in the right direction towards the motivation of teachers across Guyana,” said Lyte who added that “some might argue that this is not motivation but I choose to disagree.”
Also present at yesterday’s ceremony was Director of School of the Nations, Mr. Brian O’Toole. He during brief remarks noted that teachers were long recognised as important assets to education. He recalled that in the old model of teaching, teachers were regarded as the narrator who would make deposits into empty vessels. But with a new teaching model O’Toole said that there was a transformation of individuals in society that helped to create a new world order based on moral and spiritual values.
The honoured educators were nominated by their respective Regional Departments of Education.
Among the teachers honoured were: Cindy Iesha Bourne, Edward Inniss, Ingrid Jeffrey and Lizan Fernandes (Region One); Dhanwattie Persaud, Jeneffer Agatha Drakes, Pearlette Veronica Bholo, Veronica Pansy Jones (Region Two); Denise Zelina Dazzel, Juliet Elizabeth Augustus, Shaundell Nicola Fresco and Verna Johnson (Region Three); Indrani Ramnarine, Lesmeine Denise Collins, Maureen Allison Philadephia and Pamela Bowen (Region Four); Cindy Marsha Nelson, Clavil Ann-Letitia Mitchell, Lalta Paul and Mauricia Areka Semple (Region Five); Deoharie Narine, Roquel Alicia Saul, Savitri Marimootoo and Yvonne Hazel McAlmon (Region Six); Ann Elaine Williams-Holmes, Carmel Williams, Pamela June Daniels and Paulette Evadney Peters (Region Seven); Barry Don Jon, Mariam Edwin, Odessa Nadira Paul and Shauneille Jourdain (Region Eight); Cousma Mary Frank, Lennox Thyrian Henry, Loreen Jarvis and Virgil Harding (Region Nine); Charlyn Duke Agard, Judith Forde, Rita Fox and Vernelle Razack Giles and Allison Melinda Cosbert, Ayana Tanisha Williams, Diane Peters and Sharon Angela Trotman (Georgetown). The honoured education officers were: Mr. Carl Benn, Ms. Donna Chapman, Ms. Doodmattie Singh, Ms. Francesca Vieira, Ms. Genevieve Whyte-Nedd and Ms. Savitri Balbahadur.
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