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The Ministry of Education on Monday launched a virtual programme that will help hinterland students prepare to write the 2021 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination.
The programme entails expert teachers on the coast conducting virtual classes with students in 12 hinterland secondary schools to reinforce what they have learnt and will need to know as they prepare for this year’s examination.
The 12 schools are North West Secondary, Santa Rosa Secondary, Port Kaituma Secondary, Hosororo Primary Top, Wauna Primary Top, Kwebanna Primary Top, Matthews Ridge Primary Top, Bartica Secondary, Three Miles Secondary, Mahdia Secondary and St. Ignatius Secondary.
Efforts are being made to connect three additional schools in Region Nine, Aishalton Secondary, Sand Creek Secondary and Annai Secondary.
During Monday’s virtual launch, Minister of Education Priya Manickchand said that the initiative is a huge step in the ministry’s efforts to equalise the delivery of education. “We want the students in the hinterland to have equal opportunities as the students on the coast,” Minister Manickchand noted. She said to achieve this, those in the education sector need to deliver. She said that for there to be a strong education system there is a need for trained teachers, a supportive family, a good school environment, an interested student and a caring government that has a vision.
Minister Manickchand said that currently, the Cyril Potter College of Education is going fully online which will serve to produce more trained teachers so that every child can have a trained teacher in their classroom at every level.
She said that her Government promised in its manifesto that a serious effort will be made to equalise education delivery across Guyana. She said that one of the important steps in that direction was to appoint a Deputy Chief Education Officer for Amerindian and Hinterland Education Development (AHED) in the person of Mr. Marti DeSouza. The Education Minister said that work will continue to ensure that each child in Guyana has access to quality education thereby eliminating the gaps that exist between the hinterland and the coast.
She said that the expertise from the tutors on the coast through this program will make a difference when he or she transfers their knowledge to the students and the specific subject teachers attached to their school.
Minister Manickchand told the students that she believes their performance will be positively impacted by these classes. She said that the officers within the ministry are being proactive to ensure they do better and set a good foundation to take advantage of opportunities that will come their way. Chief Education Officer, Dr. Marcel Hutson said that Monday’s launch is symbolic of how serious the Ministry of Education and the Government of Guyana are serious about education.
He said that Officers within the Ministry came together as a team and pushed the agenda to have the technology-assisted reinforced learning a reality for hinterland students. He said that the program will ensure a greater level of preparedness by hinterland students for internal and external examinations as they have access to qualified teachers. According to the CEO, through this initiative, Guyana will see the development of a community of learners that is not limited to the students but also their teachers within the respective schools who are part of the process and will also participate in the sessions.
Deputy Chief Education Officer (AHED), Mr. Marti DeSouza said that the Hinterland students have felt the brunt of the effects brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to remaining engaged during the closure of schools. He said that for this initiative to come off the ground, it took the work of many Departments within the ministry particularly the Management Information Systems Unit (MISU). He said that the plan is to connect additional schools within the hinterland to benefit from the online classes.
The teachers that will be conducting the reinforcement classes are Ms. Delecia Cumberbatch (Mathematics), Mr. Vishnu Panday (Mathematics), Ms. Kathleen Reid (English), Ms. Martina Byrne (English), Mr. Winston Thom (Science) Mr. Marti De Souza (Science), Mr. Rashlie Joseph (Social Studies) and Ms. Eletha Johnson Stewart (Social Studies).