The Ministry of Education says St Margaret’s, Rose Hall Estate and Hampton Court primary schools were judged the best child-friendly schools in a recent contest organised by the ministry and UNICEF.
In a press release the ministry said the contest was opened to primary schools in regions two, four, six and in Georgetown last year as part of activities to observe education month. The top three schools along with the three best schools participating in the education districts were honoured at a presentation ceremony held at Theatre Guild.
St Margaret’s Primary of Georgetown and the overall winner of the contest received four computers and a refrigerator; second placed Roe Hall Estate Primary of Region Six was given three computers, a refrigerator and a PA system while Hampton Court Primary of Region Two were given three computers, a television set and a PA system.
The other winners, the Diamond Special Needs Centre of Region Four were given three computers while Siriki Primary of Region Two, Number 36 Primary of Region Six, Winfer Gardens Primary of Georgetown and Virginia Primary of Region Four each received two computers. Queenstown Primary of Region Two, Bohemia Primary of Region Six, North Georgetown Primary and St Paul’s Primary of Region four were each presented with one computer.
In his address at the ceremony Minister of Education Shaik Baksh said since the child-friendly schools were first piloted in 2007, pupils have been performing better at their examinations. Child-friendly schools focus on the delivery of education, have a learner-centred approach to teaching, healthy school environments and the creation of learning environments that cater for pupils of varying learning abilities. Baksh credited the improvement in student’s performance at the 2011 National Grade Six Assessment to the introduction of child-friendly environments in more schools.
The minister also said the goal is to create positive learning environments in all schools particularly at the primary level. He said the aim is to ensure that pupils leave the primary cycle able to master basic concepts in literacy and numeracy so that they can make a smooth transition to secondary schools. Baksh also noted the role of teachers and parents though he said too that parents need to get more involved in their children’s education and create an environment at home that promotes learning.
The ministry said schools welfare officers will be visiting the homes of students considered to be “at risk” during the July/August holidays to counsel and assist them to access material support where necessary. The ministry is also mulling establishing a fund to help poor families send their children to school.
According to the release a UNICEF report recently noted the strides that Guyana has made in this regard.