Twelve educators are now better equipped to deliver quality education, after completing a three-month-long leadership course administered by the University of New Brunswick, Canada aimed at enhancing the management of several educational institutions across Guyana.
Special Advisor to the Minister of Education Vincent Alexander lauded the recipients of the leadership certificates as he articulated its importance in the classroom as it relates to the delivery of quality education.
Making reference to this year’s Education Month theme, Alexander explained that it is no coincidence that it focuses on the importance of leadership in the delivery of quality education.
“Though it may seem coincidental with the timing, there is no coincidence in the name, but rather it is evidence of recognition … of certain needs of the sector,” he explained.
The educators, who themselves are trainers, now have the opportunity to demonstrate quality education in the way they manage institutions.
“So without a word being said to students, but by the manner in which the persons who have benefited from the training conduct the business of their school, faculty or institution, students can be recipients of quality education,” Alexander said.
This, he explained can be far more effective than the articulated and direct approaches to passing on knowledge or education. Notwithstanding, educators also have the opportunity to consciously pass on knowledge and education to those who interact with them.
“We have done great work on our infrastructure. We have done great work in terms of our curriculum, but we also need to do great work in the delivery of education. Use the environment, use the curriculum to deliver quality education to our students,” he said.
Dr Ann Sherman, Dean in the Faculty of Education at the Canadian university and one of the facilitators of the programme, expressed her appreciation for the development of good relations with the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) and the University of Guyana (UG).
“We have been coming to Guyana for the past 2 years and this is the second cohort of our disciplines…. We really enjoy coming here since persons are genuinely interested in working to become better leaders,” Sherman said.
She explained that the 12 educators did well in the course because “they are such excellent learners themselves.
“Often we think of teachers as being able to just share knowledge but teachers have to keep learning all the time. As such they can all be leaders whether it’s in the classrooms or elsewhere.”
For Jill Medford, one of the educators who took part in the course, it has impacted the way in which she carries out her duties as an educator.
“As recent as 6 months ago, I thought I would have just stayed in my corner and do my things in the classroom, impacting only those who I teach. However, since the commencement of the training sessions, I have come to understand that I am among a team of leaders in my organization at UG,” Medford said.
The UG lecturer went on to say “I also understand that my organization’s goals can be achieved when I buy into the vision and I play my part as a team member. I understand too that apart from being a leader in my classroom, I can also be a change agent giving wholehearted and loving attention to both my students and colleagues.”
According to Coordinator of the Guyana Improving Teacher Education Project (GITEP), Tota Mangar, this round of training supports the component of round two of GITEP: human resources capacity and strengthening the education management capacity of CPCE and UG that was conducted last year.
He went on to explain that the group of educators covered an extensive range of topics during the 3 months including communication skills, communication learning, servant leadership, leading in education, creative leadership, climate and culture of organizations, leadership assessment, assessment in the classroom, human resources management, staff supervision and motivation, empowerment and productivity and leadership of influence.
The 12 men and women who took part in the programme represented both the CPCE and the Faculty of Humanities and Education at UG.
According to the GITEP website, its main objective is to improve the learning achievement of Guyana’s schoolchildren by improving the effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of teacher education. It focuses on three main components: 1) Improving the Quality and Efficiency of Teacher Education Delivery; 2) Building Human Resources and Capacity for more Effective Teaching and Learning; and 3) Communication, Project Management and Monitoring and Evaluation.
The total project cost is US$5.12 million of which US$4.2 million is a loan from the World Bank and the rest from the Government of Guyana, the Commonwealth of Learning and local sources.