Regional education officers must be more accountable – Baksh

Minister of Education Shaik Baksh said though there have been improvements in education management at the regional level, greater accountability is needed from regional education officials.

In his address at the opening of a five-day workshop for district education officers convened at the National Centre for Educational Re-source Development (NCERD) Baksh said some officers do not know the key areas in their region that need urgent attention and supervision of the education system in these regions is poor.

He said too measures will be implemented to address this negligence and suggested that some officers might be rotated in an effort to obtain better results, a press release said.

In keeping with the theme ‘Efficient and Effective Supervision of the School Instructional Programme’, Baksh said accountability is a top priority at the ministry and its Monitoring, Evalua-tion Reporting and Develop-ment unit has been inspecting schools countrywide and has noted several concerns.

The regional education authorities must address these matters, he said, noting that district education officers must fulfil their responsibilities.

The minister also told the workshop that soon administrative officers will be appointed in the respective regions to handle matters on data collection and reporting. This intervention will allow the district education officers more time to visit schools frequently in their area. Baksh said a recent survey conducted in 26 schools found stark evidence of poor supervision including incidents where head teachers spend most of their time in their offices and are unaware of what is happening in the classrooms and where both teachers and head teachers are reporting late for duty.

According to Baksh the Guyana Teachers Union also has to address these issues and he intends to add it to his agenda for the August meeting with the union to negotiate a new salary package for teachers. He noted that though he is not satisfied, government has steadily increased teachers salaries and as such “salaries should not be an excuse for poor performance.” He said negligence in the school system is unacceptable and errant teachers must be reported to the Teaching Service Commission.

Additionally, Baksh said the ministry is examining revising the issuance of certificates to teachers who have completed the education management programme administered by NCERD. He noted that 500 to 700 teachers have completed the programme so far and some have already started to implement what they have learnt. Over the next few days the minister noted that district education officers will be informed about how to apply their newly-acquired skills and knowledge to address pertinent issues.

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