PPP member Kwame Gilbert yesterday said education is more accessible than ever and that CSEC results have demonstrated the strides made in education reform, but added that in the light of dwindling literacy rates there is a need to study what is working and what is not.
His statements were made at a PPP press conference, in wake of Guyana copping five of the eight Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) awards this year, including Anna Regina Multilateral School’s Yogeeta Persaud winning the award for overall outstanding achievement in the region with 18 grade ones at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.
Gilbert said the party wished to congratulate the awardees but acknowledged that while primary and secondary education were far more accessible, how education was presented needed to be studied and changes made.
He said that “spending does not always translate into impact. Part of what I think government’s strategic plan has been over the years has been to examine spending and impact and do impact analysis.”
He said that the correlation between spending and literacy rates were not just a Guyanese issue and that globally spending on education had gone up but literacy rates have dropped and stabilised over the years. “The challenge we have in Guyana is the educational process the educational system cannot be sustained only by government spending and Ministry of Education strategies,” he said, while noting that a more holistic approach is needed.
Gilbert stated that going forward students had to be taught to be more analytical thinkers and that Education Ministry had to move away from a system which teaches to “assimilate information and regurgitate for the purpose of examination.”
He said that in terms of literacy the ministry would need to focus on methodology in the coming years. He said that through analysis of teaching mechanisms, the ministry would have a better understand of what is working and what isn’t.
Guyana’s 2002 Census put literacy at 91.8% based on those surveyed being 15 years of age or older and having attended school.
Gilbert said that Guyana could be compared to developed countries in improvement and investment in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) systems. He lauded the Education Ministry’s efforts to improve TVET institutions across Guyana, while arguing that more hands-on education improved analytical skills.
In September, the ministry hosted a TVET career fair to showcase a realm of opportunities that can significantly broaden access to job or in demand industries. One of the goals of the career fair was to break down the barrier that TVET is not for the academically inclined and instead to promote TVET as a practical and theoretical knowledge base.