Cyril Potter College for $51m upgrade from China

Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry (centre); Permanent Secretary, Vibert Welch (left) and Charge d’Affaires, Chinese Embassy, Chenqu Yang,  during the signing ceremony at the Ministry of Education Brickdam office.  (Department of Public Information photo)

The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Department at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) will soon have an upgrade compliments of a US$250,000 Memorandum of Under-standing (MOU) signed by the Ministry of Education and the People’s Republic of China.

The signing of the documents took place yesterday in the presence of Minister of Education Nicolette Henry, Permanent Secretary Vibert Welch, Chargé d’ Affaires of the Chinese Embassy, Chenqu Yang, Principal of CPCE Viola Rowe and other officials.

The grant will be used for the procurement of resources and other amenities for the department with the hope of not only improving the delivery of the programme, but also to encourage more persons to sign up for the programme at the college.

Rowe, in response to questions about the impact the MOU would have on the institution said, “For a number of years, indeed, we suffered from the paucity of science teachers…we feel that one of the reasons teachers are not being attracted to the science field was perhaps because we didn’t have the state-of-the-art labs, and so once we have the resources necessary to deliver this programme then teachers would be more encouraged to come and register for science, and probably stay for the programme.”

“This grant that is coming from the People’s Republic of China will certainly go a long way in helping us to deliver an effective science programme to over 1000 teacher trainers spread across this country,” Rowe added.

Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary in his brief remarks said the signing of the MOU shows the Ministry’s commitment to expanding and strengthening the science, information and communication technology capabilities of the teaching sector.

“In this instance, this is necessary to enhance the knowledge content and skills of students who are pursuing initial teacher’s training at this college…it is no secret that over the years our sector has struggled with the paucity of specialized teachers in the areas of science and information technology for various reasons. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Education stands committed to ensuring that we encourage, attract and retain these skills within the sector, and more importantly, within this country,” he posited.

“Today, this is a demonstration of our intention to honour the commitment. Beyond our immediate benefits of this MOU to the student teachers of this college, lies a much anticipated impact with the nurturing of thousands of minds in our schools, from among which Guyana will have its future scientists, engineers, technologists, technicians and a whole range of related professions,” Welch added.

Similar sentiments were shared by the Minister who said, “Education is and will remain a major focus of this government…When we speak about teachers training, we speak about it in the context of teacher’s preparation and support,” before noting that, the donation will add to the initiatives already undertaken by the government to strengthen the capacity of the training college.

Meanwhile, Charge d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy, Yang acknowledged the long-standing bilateral relationship between Guyana and China, before commending the government for their commitment to building the local education sector.

“From this ceremony, we see and are indeed encouraged by the commitment you have made towards education and that is a common goal we are pursuing. This year marks an important milestone for our bilateral relations. Forty-five years ago Guyana and China formed formal diplomatic ties and this donation forms another demonstration of our long and continued commitment to our friendship and partnership,” the diplomat said.

Yang explained that the implementation process will be monitored by the Chinese Embassy and the Ministry of Education.

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