The Ministry of Education continues to ensure that teachers are adequately trained to deliver the curriculum at the various levels and to this end has been promoting the use of learning resources, Education Minister Shaik Baksh says.
Speaking to stakeholders at an exhibition of learning resources at the National Centre for Educational Resource and Development (NCERD), Baksh on Tuesday underscored the importance of learning resource in the education process which creates the opportunities for critical thinking.
According to a news release issued by the Govern-ment Information Agency (GINA), the Minister was quoted in the release as saying, “government is committed to providing the materials to improve the quality of education in Guyana because we all know, as educators, that unless you have the learning resource materials, you can have all the nice school buildings, you can have all the teachers too, but if you don’t have the materials we would not be able to deliver to the children of Guyana.”
The exhibition is one of the activities scheduled for education month, which is being observed under the theme: “School Attendance and Punctuality: Keys to Education Success.” It also seeks to sensitise the public on the types of teaching/ learning materials available for teachers, expose and help them to the best practises in the classrooms and improve their teaching skills and encourage teachers to develop their own teaching materials.
According to GINA, release, the main purpose of the event was to expose teachers to innovative technology that can be used in the classrooms to create opportunities for critical thinking. The Minister was quoted as saying “Guyana is in the lead I think, in the Caribbean, in terms of the development of learning resources especially in terms of early childhood and pre-primary levels. We have a lot of materials and we have to put those materials to more use. This is the challenge, to ensure that our teachers are trained and re-trained using the learning resources available, because it is no use that we are building larger and larger amounts of materials and our teachers are not well trained in the methodology and in using these materials.”
Minister Baksh pointed out too that in some areas the materials are kept in cupboards since the teachers are not trained to use them. This, he noted, is being changed to ensure that the materials are properly utilised. These materials include textbooks which have been purchased in the Caribbean and elsewhere to promote literacy in schools. He said, ‘if we are to get results that is the improvement of quality learning outcomes, we have to ensure that these materials are properly utilised and are available; in other words, children in the school system have access to these materials.”
Baksh stated that the Ministry has established and developed approximately 11 learning resources centres in Guyana that are located in remote hinterland communities, where they are needed the most. He added also that plans are being implemented for some additional new learning resource centres to be established which will also be located in remote areas while in other regions, school libraries will be encouraged and established to ensure that all children in every school have access to books and other educational materials.
GINA said that the Ministry is working to resuscitate school libraries with the goal of encouraging reading and in ensuring that students have access to materials. The ministry is collaborating with the National Library to organise visits to the regions to assist in getting the libraries operational. The initiative will also see the libraries receiving books which are produced locally and abroad.
Minister Baksh pointed out that cabinet recently allocated funds to the education sector under the “Education for All” Fast track initiative for the procurement of learning resources and books for the primary level.
“Lots of books have been procured and we do have a book distribution unit which is now better organised, computerised to track down where these books are being sent and to carry out an audit on the books that we have available,” the Minister said.
Representative of UNICEF, Geoffrey Ijumbo presented an adequate supply of new educational books to the Ministry of Education, which the agency developed especially for children in Guyana.
The book, “My Rights and Responsibility” focuses in the development stages of children and what they should practise in their daily lives. Ijumbo lauded the Ministry of Education for its commitment to providing the materials to improve the quality of education in Guyana and for the achievements over the past years.