The Ministry of Education commissioned a new $17M teacher’s living quarters at Port Kaituma, Region One last week Wednesday.
According to a press release from the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) the project was done through the ministry’s All/Fast track Initiative. The semi-furnished building boasts a living room, kitchen, dining room and bathroom and caters for two families or four single teachers. Work to enclose the ground floor of the structure is expected to start soon.
At the commissioning ceremony held on the lawns of the new facility Minister of Education Shaik Baksh told the audience of students, teachers and regional officials that the building is one of four in the Region.
He said too it is a central component of government’s plan to encourage trained teachers from the coastland to render their services in the hinterland and ultimately boost the quality of education in this area. Baksh said the ministry hopes to reverse the unsatisfactory trend of students’ performance at the National Grade Six Assessments and the CSEC exams particularly in Region One. He also said the ministry has set out to have at least 70% of teachers in hinterland areas formally trained within the next five years.
The minister told the gathering that the upgrading of teachers in remote locations is an ongoing initiative and more than 100 teachers have benefited through the Guyana Basic Education Teacher Training Programme. This year, six teachers in Region One have completed training at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) and will return to serve their region. Thirteen more will be sent to the college for formal training. Baksh also said every hinterland teacher who has completed training at CPCE will have to return to serve his/her region barring exceptional circumstances.
He also said that while the ministry has embarked on these initiatives, teachers have to demonstrate their commitment in effecting the desired change. Baksh said he was dissatisfied with the attendance rate of teachers in the region and urged the lagging teachers to live up to their responsibilities. This is the only way that the ministry can realise its goals and ensure that every child receives quality education.
He said in addition to establishing housing, government has embarked on several other interventions to improve students’ attendance and performance including providing free text books, snacks for all nursery to Grade Two pupils and a free uniform for every child from September. Plans are also in train to provide free transportation to students at primary tops in the hinterland regions and expand the dormitories at secondary schools.
Additionally, Region One Chairman Fermin Singh urged the teachers to care the facility as it was built to enhance their well-being as they fulfil their duties. Port Kaituma Primary School Head Teacher Macey Chung and the school’s PTA also lauded the ministry for providing the facility.