May 23, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – Life skills are defined as a set of psychosocial competence and personal skills that help people make decisions, communicate effectively with others, develop coping skills with surrounding circumstances, and manage themselves in a manner that leads to progress and success.
On Thursday, the Life Skills Education Institute (LSEI) in collaboration with Camille’s Academy Inc. (CAI) (a private school) launched the life skills and mental health programme with the objective of aiding students of the school, build capacity in these two areas.
The launch was marked with attendance from representatives of the Ministry of Education (MOE) as well as the Ministry of Health (MOH) including Deputy Permanent Secretary within the MOE, Indranie Ramnarine, former Minister within the MOH, Dr. Bheri Ramsaran as well as clinical psychologist attached to the Mental Health Unit of the MOH, Dr. Mark Constantine.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CAI, Camille Deokie-Gorakh told those gathered at the launch, that the programme is one which offers students an opportunity to access the services that are important to their overall growth and wellbeing.
She asserted that “This programme is one which will help aid our students greatly in the areas of problem solving and decision making. It will also help them develop coping mechanism that will alleviate the mental stress that can sometimes be associated with their academic pursuits.”
Deokie-Gorakh explained that as an educator, she understands the importance of investing in the education of young people.
“Our young people are the future. We want them to have a balanced life that‘s why the life skills and mental health progamme is important and will now complement the curriculum at Camille’s Academy,” the CEO added.
She explained that the LSEI programme will be implemented at the school’s four locations. CAI currently serves a student population of approximately 1500 combined at four locations; at Crane, West Coast Demerara, Lusignan East Coast Demerara, as well as Diamond and Soesdyke, East Bank Demerara.
In her remarks, Ramnarine lauded CAI for its initiative. The DPS told the gathering that the life skills programme is missing from the education curriculum. “In my 25 years of experience working in the sector, I have always looked to see something different…So very often, we educators focus on the academics and we forget about the soft skills. We forget that we raising these young ones to become adults; we forget to ask the question how are they going to be productive, if they don’t have the soft skills,” Ramnarine said.
The DPS emphasized too, that paying attention to the signs of mental health and developing coping mechanism are equally important to the academic development of children.
“Their decision making skills, problem solving, mathematical skills, analytical skills, management skills are all important to life, so giving them an education is not just about what is written in these text books. Life is about being an all rounded individual,” the DPS added.
As such, she lauded CAI for taking the step to introduce the programme to the students.
“It gives me great pleasure in being at this launch here today. What you are implementing here at Camille’s Academy may very well be the stepping stone of changing the education sector in this country. We need to begin at a point and you may very well be that sample and that example. This is a good start…To the students, take advantage of the opportunity to develop your skills so it doesn’t matter where you are placed, you will shine,” DPS Ramnarine added.
Dr. Vishnu Doerga, Chairman of the Action Invest Caribbean and an advocate for the life skills education, spoke to the need for a more equipped workforce.
According to Dr. Doerga the economic direction that Guyana is taking, is requiring individuals with better management and creativity skills.
“We have to find better ways to develop these traits that is needed in the workforce. Students when they leave college or the university if they have not paid attention to the life skills, they struggle. So, that’s why this is important,” he said.
Dr. Doerga’s company is the franchise holder to the LSEI programme which he hopes to roll out across the education platform.
Meanwhile, speaking briefly on behalf of the MOH, Dr. Ramsaran said, that the Health Ministry is more than willing to offer support to the school as it endeavours to build better students.
Toward the end of the launch, Dr. Arulsamy Anand CEO of LSEI and Ms. Upsana Mudlier operations manager for LSEI gave a presentation on how the programme works.
It was explained that the Life Skills Proficiency Index (LSPI) – a web application developed by the LSEI through which students can take an assessment showing the extent of their life skills proficiency, wellbeing and mental health status.
They demonstrated that the web app generates automated results for the student, whereby they will be able to view their scores in comparison with their classmates, region and the country. It also provides percentile ranking of the students within his/her school, region and the country.
It was noted that the app also generates similar reports for the schools, whereby they will be able to view their students’ proficiency level in comparison with the other schools in the region and country.
The LSEI officers explained the result from the assessment is used to determine a student mental health status, and to seek early intervention and mental health support from trained and competent staff including the school’s guidance counselor.
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