Education quite rightly attracts much attention these days. For this country to position itself to take advantage of its still undefined, but largely anticipated, place in the world, education of the highest quality must be delivered.
The foundations of a balanced, but demanding, curriculum must be built upon at all levels: in successive grades, across the school networks (public and private), and throughout the educators’ tiers.
Government after government has trumpeted commitment to overseeing, if not delivering, the calibre of education required for this nation to succeed. The current government is determined to continue the trend.
Though the public relations efforts are never lacking, the issues of depth and breadth linger worryingly. In other words, the quantity (eye-catching statistics) looks encouraging; while the overall quality (the spread) remains uncertain and subject to critical inquiry. The latest endeavour focuses public spotlight on the earliest days of school life and school career.
As carried by this publication, this took form under the umbrella of: “Empowering head teachers for accountable School Management,” a conference/retreat was held for 24 nursery school head teachers. In welcoming participants to the event, a District Education Officer for Nursery, made it clear that it was poised to provide them with a platform for the general development of the quality of education and care offered at the nursery level.
Indeed, it is the place to make such a laudable start, upon which to set the tone and build for the future, and to position young minds for the challenges ahead, through the intricate caring called for at that level. Also, head teachers are the people through whom the visions are channeled and from whom the energies and drives must issue forth to the surrounding cast.
As is well known, that cast may either be lacking in the requisite attentiveness or the ongoing interest in delivering what the myriad situations demand. There is challenge there, and not only at the nursery level, but at the others that come afterwards.
Who is in control of the academic environment? Who cares enough to make a difference in the life of one who is a flyer, but could be a higher flier? Who, more importantly, are involved enough and responsible enough to convert a possible failure (many of them) into causes for thanksgiving, pride, and joyful celebration?
Who is living the training and seminars and policies ingrained annually? Who is there at the helm, whether in Nursery or Secondary, to ensure that all are held accountable to record the more than commendable?
Taken together, those are recognized as one tall order, the most testing of examinations. Among the objectives, highlighted by the government, was for “nursery school administrators to acquire the necessary skills and competencies to be effective and efficient school managers; effectively implement policies of the Ministry of Education while being creative and energetic change agents and to be able to assist teachers as they implement the Nursery Curriculum.”
To this end, it was reported that, the Regional Education Department is aggressively empowering and further developing its teachers (in the belief) that “head teachers are the key individuals to motivate teachers within the schools and to pilot the vision of the Ministry of Education”. That is one long mouthful, which if not carefully managed could lead to choking. Because “skills and competencies” and effective and efficient…managers” and “being creative and energetic change agents” have to come to represent more than the jargon of the moment.
They must resonate through sustained effort, devotion to duty, and the leadership will to overcome resistances. The head teacher (all teachers) is captain and coach, and teacher and preacher and beseecher.
Thus, it is a restatement of familiar routines to articulate that the roles played by head teachers are of paramount importance to the overall development of teachers and students. The proof must be in the performance, that separating line of achievement under fire, against expectations
In the rat race lived by Guyanese in overseas settings, long grueling hours are expended in self-sacrificing for self-improving. If not, it is the drudgery of the has-beens, the unrecognized, and the unrewarded. This holds in studying, singing, dancing: practice, refine, practice some more with more training. Enlighten mind and body to equip to educate others. These are challenges and life lessons experienced more through the exceptionalism of sterling individual commitment, rather than the rule that should be the dominant norm.
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