The Ministry of Social Cohesion on Wednesday launched its Diversity Education and Inclusion Regional Training Workshop at the Lusignan Primary School.
According to a Ministry of the Presidency press release, 25 teachers participated in the two-day workshop which included sessions covering topics such as understanding prejudices, self-awareness, values, diversity, trust building and nurturing communities, all aimed at advancing the social cohesion programme within the context of implementing the National Strategic Plan on Social Cohesion, 2017 – 2021.
The release stated that trainers, Kala Seegopaul and Rishon Seebarran led the sessions with assistance from Ministry of Social Cohesion Technical Officer, Natasha Singh-Lewis.
According to the release, Minister of Social Cohesion, George Norton, speaking at the event, said that after parents, teachers are the most critical role models in a child’s life.
The release quoted Programme Coordinator at the Ministry of Social Cohesion, Sharon Patterson as saying that the Ministry is currently preparing a civic education booklet that will help teachers “in the school system to help children to understand who they are as Guyanese and how they can contribute to working together, how they can contribute to cooperating with each other, how they can understand the culture and religion of their peers so that they can get along and not find themselves in the pitfalls a few generations ahead of them found themselves in.”
According to the release, Loretta dos Santos, Head Teacher at Lusignan Primary, said that after having participated in a previous Diversity Education and Inclusion Workshop, she wanted her teacher to be exposed to the topics discussed so that they too would have better insight into issues surrounding diversity and inclusion in Lusignan and the wider society.
“Too many times we would have focused on the academics and just putting aside the hidden curriculum where you have to teach certain morals, values and attitudes… We also have teachers here from diverse backgrounds…from various communities…and I think that this will have a rippling effect, whereby the teachers will [take the knowledge back] into their classrooms and the children will tell their parents and [share when] they go to church, or the mandir or the temple and this rippling effect goes on…” the release quoted her as saying.
Deoranie Drepaul, a teacher at the school said that the sessions have helped her to become more compassionate.
“It has built my thinking and [made] me more conscious of what I do in making decisions and choices. Now as a teacher, we’re in contact with teachers and parents so [it would] help children to look at each other [as] not different… and with the parents, maybe we [can] help parents to see that we should teach our children not to hate… but to see each other as individuals,” the release quoted her as saying.
This is the 29th workshop of its kind to be hosted by the Ministry of Social Cohesion, the release said.