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Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand on Friday commissioned a new building of the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) at Vreed-en-Hoop, West Coast Demerara.
This new facility is located at the Regional Department of Education Region Three and will cater to the needs of some 300 teachers. The commissioning of this new facility, the minister said, is part of the ministry’s plan to achieve 100 per cent trained teachers in the classroom.
The Minister in delivering the featured address stated teachers are important assets to the development of a country and cognisant of this the Government, through the Ministry of Education, has taken several steps to ensure teachers are provided with training opportunities as well as being provided with other benefits to compensate them for their work.
Many teachers would doubt the government sees them as important assets to Guyana’s development. At the beginning of this school year many took to social media to vent concerns about the manner in which they are being treated by the ministry and the absence of adequate support (technical, classroom supplies and otherwise) to help in the delivery of quality education. The Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) for the entire period of the Irfaan Ali administration has seen no effort, thus far, to have engagements with the government on increased salary and improved working conditions which the collective bargaining process allows for. The government continues to violate this constitutionally guaranteed right to teachers who are represented by the GTU.
Addressing the quality of education, the World Bank in its October 2022 Fact Sheet noted that although the education sector in Guyana has made remarkable progress in the last 15 years in terms of access, learning outcomes remain low across all levels.
Using the Human Capital Index, the Bank stated “a child born in Guyana today will only be 50 percent as productive when she grows up as she could be if she enjoyed complete education and full health. This is lower than the average for the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region and upper middle-income countries. The low human capital score is in part driven by low educational and health outcomes. Although the average Guyanese student is expected to complete 12.2 years of schooling, this is equivalent to only 6.8 years of learning when expressed in terms of Learning-Adjusted Years of Schooling (LAYS).”
It is expected the minister would have read that report and such may have an impact on influencing government’s education policies.
A commitment was made by the minister to improve the quality of service offered at CPCE. And according to her, 100 teachers across the country will be receiving duty-free concessions, while 50 will be receiving scholarships to the University of Guyana, and from January 2023 every teacher, even as they train, will be receiving a salary as an in-service teacher.