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(June 1, 2022) – The Ministry of Education and the University of today Guyana launched the International Centre of Excellence in Educator Innovation, Learning and Development (ICEEILD) within the Faculty of Education and Humanities (FEH). The ICEEILD will allow teachers and persons interested in pursuing courses offered by the FEH, to do so online.
Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand said that the launch of the ICEEID is a big moment for teacher education in Guyana and that the idea behind establishing the Centre and providing courses offered by the Faculty online was birthed after the intake at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) significantly increased after the College decided to offer teacher training online.
It was shared that before COVID, teacher training at CPCE was done face to face and due to physical space, the College was only able to admit around 535 students per year and that COVID caused the College to close and forced CPCE to eventually offer its programmes online leading to the intake to increase to around 2000 students (an increase of 273%) as of 2021 since the number of teachers being trained was no longer limited by physical space. Within that increased number of students, there was an increase in the number of persons pursuing the Associate Degree in Education (ADE) programme at CPCE. Minister Manickchand explained that when teachers complete this course at CPCE, they can move on to the University of Guyana and after two more years of studying, be awarded a full Degree from the University.
Because of in person capacity constraints via a face to face mode of engagement, the increase in the number of teachers eligible to move on to UG to acquire their Degree created a problem for the university. As such, the University was tasked to revisit how it offered its programmes to teachers which lead to the establishment of the ICEEILD.
The Centre provides all of the courses offered by the Faculty through an online mode within a 17:00h to 22:00h period. This will allow teachers to pursue studies after school hours thereby reducing the loss of time with students. Additionally, it means that teachers will no longer have to seek a release to study at the University of Guyana to do courses offered by the FEH.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Paloma Mohamed said that when the relevant data was considered together with the understanding of the type of workforce that will be needed in Guyana in the future, it became clear that the educator or teacher of the future needed to be a very different person from what exists today. She said that within the Centre, two new Units have been added. According to Professor Mohamed, one Unit is going to study, teach and research Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) education with a focus on Technology. The second Unit, she said will focus on digital technologies and educational technologies.
The Dean of the Faculty of Education and Humanities, Dr. Roslin Khan said that the Centre will lay the foundation for ongoing training opportunities anchored in relevant theories and provide learning opportunities for academic and professional training within communities. She said that the targeted participants will include trained or untrained teachers and other interested adult learners throughout the length and breadth of Guyana as well as further afield. Dr. Khan said that the delivery of these programmes will be mainly virtual, allowing for blended and/or in-person modes of delivery in determined and possible circumstances.
The President of the Guyana Teachers’ Union, Mr. Mark Lyte said that the feedback received by the Union from teachers is that they are happy that the University is going online while still offering an opportunity for those teachers who cannot access the online platform to still benefit from face-to-face classes.
He said that the GTU will fully support this initiative between the Ministry of Education and the University of Guyana.
The Coordinator of the FEH at the Berbice Campus, Ms. Camania Khedaroo said that the Centre offers educators the learning opportunities and experiences that will allow them to critically engage with current and evolving dynamics in their environment. She said that for educators in Berbice, the Centre represents renewed energy directed to revitalizing the education sector through educators’ engagement with the highest standards of professional development in leadership, management, teaching and learning, innovation and research.
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