Minister of Education Shaik Baksh says consideration is being given to waiving the tuition fee for University of Guyana graduates who are willing to serve in the hinterland region.
He made this announcement at a farewell ceremony held for a group of WorldTeach volunteers.
According to an Education Ministry press release, Baksh said the offer is for graduates from the Faculty of Education and Humanities and other faculties, and targets graduates who specialised in Mathe-matics, English, the sciences and other subject areas approved by the ministry. The graduates will be expected to serve for a period of not more than five years.
The initiative is in keeping with the ministry’s efforts to ensure that there is an adequate number of qualified teachers in key subject areas, in the hinterland regions. Over the years the ministry has implemented a number of programmes to attract coastland teachers to serve in the far flung regions, including offering a remote area incentive, a hardship allowance, free housing to serve in certain communities and additional points for production.
Hinterland teachers who complete training at the Cyril Potter College of Education are required to return and serve their respective regions. Despite these measures, Baksh said the drive to attract teachers to hinterland areas has been a challenge and he praised the volunteers who served in these areas. The ministry has also put measures in place to aid hinterland students with accessing education.
In addition to the school feeding and uniform programmes, government is currently determining how to extend the transportation support programme.
In his address to the volunteers, Baksh commended their efforts to raise the standard of education in the hinterland areas.
He also said that government will be requesting that the number of WorldTeach volunteers that come to Guyana annually be increased from 18 to about 50.
During their 11-month tour, the volunteers served at schools in regions One, Three, Four, Five, Six and Seven. They focused on Mathematics and science subjects. Volunteers Suzanne Giunta and Elisabeth Reynolds, speaking on behalf of their batch, said their stay has been a rewarding, memorable and amazing experience.
Assistant Chief Education Officer (Secondary) Doodmattie Singh lauded the commitment demonstrated by the volunteers, noting that at times they worked beyond the call of duty.
She also said their contributions have been noteworthy, particularly in the Math and science subjects as there is a dearth of teachers in these subject areas in the school system.
The ceremony was held at the National Centre for Education Resource Deve-lopment on Monday.