– Finance Ministry
The Ministry of Finance has noted that the public education system continues to deliver mixed results with respect to learning outcomes for school-aged children.
But what it finds particularly troubling is the fact that just over one third of Guyanese students passed Mathematics at the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA).
In its mid-year report, the Ministry said that of the over 14,000 students who sat the NGSA, the pass rate for Mathematics stood at 38 percent, a decline from the 45 percent reported, for 2017.
Notwithstanding the improvement in English from 52 percent, in 2017, to 60 percent, in 2018, being commendable, the Ministry said that it is worried about the performance of students in Mathematics.
The Finance Ministry said, “Guyana requires a populace that is well-rounded with a strong mathematical and analytic skill base, if the economy is to transition to a more diversified, innovative and productive one, as is reiterated in the preliminary inputs of the Green State Development Strategy.”
That said, the Finance Ministry noted that efforts have continued to improve every facet of the public education sector. The Ministry said that of the $46 billion budgeted for the education sector for 2018; $17.9 billion had been expended. Capital investments for the first half totaled $1.1 billion, about 19 percent of the budgeted sum.
Recurrent expenses were $16.8 billion, representing 41.6 percent of the budgeted operational costs. Of the budgeted $4.7 billion for the construction, rehabilitation, extension and maintenance of educational facilities throughout Guyana, $1.1 billion was spent.
For 2018, the Finance Ministry said that such activities include the construction of new secondary schools at Good Hope and Parfaite Harmony, for which procurement was still ongoing at the half year. Final approval is expected in the third quarter and works are expected to commence in the fourth.
In addition to this, the Ministry said that the reconstruction of St. Rose’s High is pending the completion of the demolition process and construction is to commence thereafter. The rehabilitation of the Wismar/Christianburg Secondary School will continue during the second half.
While the aforementioned will allow for improved capacity and quality of learning environment at the secondary level, especially as the gross enrollment ratio has grown from 73 percent, in 2017, to 88 percent, in 2018, the Ministry said that newly trained teachers will also be deployed to reinforce the education system across all levels.
Based on the current cohort, the Ministry said that Cyril Potter College of Education expects that over 380 trainees will graduate in 2018, and join the pool of trained teachers. In addition, over 370 teachers are currently enrolled in the teacher upgrading programme which, when completed, will prepare them for further development.
To support teachers in the delivery of the national curricula, the Ministry noted that the Smart Classroom Programme has commenced the conceptualization process and will undertake a needs assessment at the beginning of the new academic year. This will initially target 93 primary schools across nearly all regions.
In addition, to promote an extended coverage of trained teachers, the Government, as previously announced, improved the Remote Area Incentive (RAI) regime. All eligible teachers will receive their new RAI in the third quarter, inclusive of arrears owed for the first half of 2018.
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