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The Ministry of Education has launched the National Grade Six Assessment Examination (NGSA) booster programme to help Grade Six students better prepare for this year’s examination.
The programme would be broadcast on the Guyana Learning Channel (GLC) from Monday to Friday between 10:30 hours and 15:30 hours, and rebroadcast from 17:00 hours every day. The programme would also be uploaded to the GLC’s YouTube channel, and can be accessed on the Dream tv app, Atlantic cable and others.
At the launch, Minister Priya Manickchand, noted the challenges the Government faced trying to reduce learning loss, particularly during the pandemic. “The only way we have delivered education is in a classroom, in front of a blackboard, with the teacher and students sitting in their seats and we don’t know any other way. All of a sudden, we were asked because of COVID, to stop everything you knew, turn this thing on its head and still deliver education; quit everything we have learned, trained and prepared to do – just stop that but still deliver education.”
With this in mind, the Ministry rolled out a robust education programme. This entailed the distribution of printed worksheets, the restructuring of the GLC, radio programmes, and other resources to help learners both in the hinterland and on the coastland, recover. The ministry exhausted its printing budget in March for the year; however, Minister Manickchand said this will not stop the Government’s commitment to its young people. “I want you to understand that this has been a difficult time for us, but I want you to understand in the same breath, that we will never give up on you. We will never give up on our children. We will always find ways to try to make it work,” she said.
To this end, the booster programme will feature a 20-week consolidated curriculum for the Grade Six students since they will be tested on topics from Grades One to Five. “We believe that this is one more thing we are doing that will put your children, our children, our NGSA children, in a more confident position where we’re helping them not only academically but psychologically, and mentally, to be ready to sit this exam on the 4th and 5th of August,” Minister Manickchand said.
The Minister reiterated that this placement examination does not measure one’s intelligence and as such, no one should feel pressured. She noted that a similar approach is being taken for CXC students. As regards how students in hinterland/riverine communities would benefit from the initiative, Minister Manickchand said the Ministry is in the process of purchasing television sets, solar systems and satellites for every hinterland/riverine community to ensure they have access.
Meanwhile, Chief Education Officer, Dr. Marcel Hutson said this approach is testimony of the Ministry’s creativity, resilience and commitment to ensure that every child has access to education. “We have not lost the vision of achieving our sustainable development, which speaks to equity, quality, inclusivity and lifelong learning and so, as a Ministry, we have never given up on our students. We have never given up on our people in this country and there is a reason why we have never given up and we will never give up because we recognise the importance of education and how education can change the lives of people,” he said.
Head of GLC, Ms. Bibi Aniesha Mohamed said the Government embarked on this intervention to provide a programme that can make the lessons as engaging as possible, utilising the skills of the best local, trained teachers and technical team. Local content is a combination of consolidated and appropriate information quality graphics, and a multitude of colours and, as we all know, colours contribute significantly to memory retention, enhancing cognitive skills and improving brain function,” she said.
Those who wish to utilise the GLC’s YouTube channel and Facebook page will be able to interact with the Department. Some $200 million was allocated in the 2020 Emergency Budget for the establishment of six additional channels, as well as a new radio station to deliver educational content. This led to the GLC reforming its programming, which saw nursery to secondary school learners being able to access scheduled educational content amid COVID-19. The launch was held at the National Centre for Educational Resources Development. (DPI)