Parents and educators were urged to invest more in children’s education, particularly those weak ones, in order to develop Guyana’s future human resource.
The call was made by Alim Hosein, Dean of the University of Guyana’s (UG) School of Education & Humanities, during the closing ceremony of the university’s 10th annual Reading is Fun Programme. In his remarks, Hosein applauded the programme’s successes but also raised serious questions on its weaknesses.
“Where the question comes is how do we deal with the shortcomings that we have found? How do we deal with the slow learners? How do we deal with children who are below their level of reading?” Hosein questioned. He believes that greater participation by parents and educators can positively influence children’s education and advised relevant stakeholders to make major investments.
“I would encourage parents and the University of Guyana library to find some way of not just identifying the problems, but to try (to) find ways of solving the problems. What you have done with your reading programme…is crucial because there are many students who go to school and when they are in a class (with) 20 to 30 others…those who do not perform well slip through the cracks,” Hosein said. “Schools do not usually have the necessary equipment and personnel to help slow learners and readers,” he added.
Hosein pointed out that these deficiencies often lead to students feeling frustrated and lost and eventually lead to drop-outs. “We need to follow up on these issues and try to help these children so that they can have fuller academic lives and so that we can have better citizens,” he urged.
The official further suggested that parents ensure that their children read and find enjoyment in it. He urged them to become readers themselves and noted the importance of literacy, especially from the early stage of a person’s life. “Getting persons to read and encouraging persons to read is a natural extension of being a people of information,” Hosein said. “By encouraging young people to read, these young persons can now become the academics of tomorrow….in another five or six years we can have these children coming back into the university because they have been encouraged to read and study and have taken on the lesson and have now qualified themselves and are now coming to seek more information and read at a higher level,” he said.
Hosein also opined that reading and writing are extremely valuable skills and noted that society has evolved to encompass words in various formats including magazines, websites, and signs. “So, while we can exist quite comfortably with speaking alone, we can improve our existence if we learn to read,” he asserted.
The Reading is Fun programme is an annual one held by UG’s library in collaboration with Courts Guyana. The programme commenced on August 5 and officially closed yesterday with a presentation ceremony.
According to Syndrene Harris, Head of the Caribbean Research Library (CRL), the programme is a three-week one aimed at promoting literacy in children. Its 75 participants were privy to talks on children rights, morals and literacy and had the opportunity to visit the Guyana National Museum.
Each year, the programme caters to a number of school-aged children from the Sophia area and trains them in a number of areas including spelling, storytelling, poetry and short story writing, and script-writing.