Education officers review five-year strategy

Education managers from the central and regional departments convened last week for the fifth review of the Education Strategic Plan (ESP) 2008-2013 to examine policies to be executed and decide whether to expand the strategy to facilitate the implementation of the MDGs.

A Government Informa-tion Agency (GINA) press release said Thursday’s session was timely, since improvements were recorded at the National Grade Six Assessment.

In addition, a contract was signed on Wednesday for the supply of computers and other equipment for 64 secondary schools.

Minister of Education Shaik Baksh said among the crucial decisions of the meeting was deciding whether to expand the lifespan of the ESP, to facilitate implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), due for completion in 2015.

The minister said the plan aims to ensure that the education system contributes to raising the standard of living in Guyana. The ESP addresses eliminating illiteracy, modernising education and strengthening tolerance in Guyana.

Baksh reminded the meeting that the ESP has eight priority areas, which must inform the deliberations. As a result, the 11 education districts are expected to report on how they are contributing to overall objectives by looking at the set targets, indicators and benchmarks.

These areas are quality education, universal secondary education, teacher reform, TVET, school health and nutrition, managerial capacity, and the monitoring and evaluation system.

Though the ESP does not identify science and technology as main areas of focus, they must be a part of the plan, Baksh said, as the ministry supports the implementation of the Low Carbon Development Strategy.

He noted that capacity at both the central and regional levels need to be strengthened in order to ensure that the plan is implemented effectively. However, Baksh also noted that the establishment of the Monitoring, Evaluating and Reporting Developmental Unit has been visionary, in advancing the quality agenda.

He also said the unlike other ministries, the education ministry has support from stakeholders, such as the community, Parent Teacher Associations and school boards, in creating behaviour change.

In addition, Chief Planning Officer Evelyn Hamilton noted that last week’s forum provided managers with the opportunity to examine policies that have not been put into effect and those that should be implemented.

She said that monitoring and evaluation are a part of the ESP and as such it is important for persons involved in the process to be prepared to report on outcomes that can result in behaviour change.

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