Aug 15, 2017 News
The introduction of multilateral schools several years ago was a deliberate move aimed at ensuring that students at the secondary level had an opportunity to pursue technical education alongside academic subjects. In fact, it was intended to encourage students to pursue technical education.
Recounting the move in this regard recently was former technical educator within the public education system, Mr. Andy Moore. According to Moore, who was specifically trained to cater to students of multilateral schools, “the idea of the multilateral school has failed and it failed because people did not understand the correlation between technical education and nation building.”
But when the purpose of multilateral schools is taken into consideration today, Moore said that “the state of technical education now is less than it was before.”
He however noted, “I daresay, women were always doing very well in welding and machining and such things.” Moreover, Moore emphasised that the notion of the multilateral school system was designed to be of benefit to both males and females. He pointed out that “it is from such humble beginnings we have the engineers and the designers who make drones and everything like that.”
According to Moore, from all indications too many people are not paying close attention to technical education these days. He is however convinced that First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, understands the dilemma all too well.
Recognising Mrs. Granger as the patron of the robotics team that recently travelled abroad and helped to give Guyana some positive exposure, Moore noted that she has taken note of the fact that “people in Mabaruma or people in Region Seven, for instance, don’t have anything to do technically…if they want to have an engine repaired, they have to bring it down to Georgetown. She has recognised this and maybe she should ask the technical and vocational people ‘where are the teachers?’”
It is Moore’s informed view that when a youth reaches the age of 18, that youth should be in a position to apply for any job or be able to advance his or her education in just about any field. But this is not the situation that obtains.
“There is no place in the education system that I know of that a youth can get the sufficient number of technical subjects at the Caribbean Examinations Council level to start out on a job in technology,” Moore observed.
He moreover lamented that “We still have a tradition where we are sending them [youths] to technical schools until they are 17 and that is too late.”
“At 17 they must be ready and I have seen this operate in the United States. I got one of my certificates from an area vocational schools [in the United States] and this is where the high school students would go during the day, and in the night people who want to get further certificates would go there too. We don’t have facilities like that, but we need those,” stressed Moore.
In fact it is the view of the technical expert that “we don’t have any area vocational schools really…We have a school like the Kingston Industrial Centre where the students would go and classes would take place.”
According to Moore, the technical level schools that currently exist in Guyana have similar agendas that usually cater to students after they would have existed the regular school setting. But Moore admitted, “for all practical purposes these schools are trying.” This is in light of the fact that the first technical institute at Woolford Avenue, Georgetown, was built 70 years ago. With this in mind, Moore noted that “just on the bear surface of being built 70 years ago, you cannot say that it is a good a school as it is supposed to be today; it is out of date…the [notion of the] technical institute has not evolved.”
Moore, who was some years ago tasked with conducting an assessment of the facility [the Government Technical Institute] said, “The fact that technical institution stands 10 feet from the road to date speaks volume.”
“I had to study how the technical school was built and I was alarmed that they’d put a forge [a type of hearth used for heating metals] under the library,” said Moore as he disappointedly noted that there is need for technical education to move forward. He amplified, “what we need now is a technical college and we need the technical school system to feed that college in much the say way that the high schools are feeding the University of Guyana.”
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