Education Ministry tackles reading inability among young people

Guyana Chronicle
January 4, 2000

THE Ministry of Education, concerned about the inability of young people to master the art of reading, is moving to make Reading and English Language a prominent feature in the education system.

Towards achieving the goal, Chief Education Officer, Mr Ed Caesar said the ministry has invested heavily in acquiring grammar books to be used at both the primary and secondary levels.

The texts are expected during next month, he added.

Caesar, who outlined the plans at an end-of-year press briefing at the GTV 11 studios in Georgetown last week, said "Grammar is very crucial and the ministry intends to make teaching of it (grammar) a focus".

The Education Ministry will also start a programme to train teachers to use the books so that the teaching of grammar which has been lax in the school system will again become a priority, he told reporters.

He said the relevant workshops are aimed to remind teachers of the strategies that can be employed in teaching the subject which is crucial to students mastering the art of reading.

And with the plan to place greater emphasis on reading in schools, the ministry will continue to support all non-governmental organisations conducting literacy programmes, Caesar said.

He noted that each region and school has been asked to undertake projects which will assist young people in the country to read.

He noted that many administration regions have gone way ahead and listed as a good example the Resource Centre in Region Ten which he said has been doing an excellent job.

Meanwhile, discussions are ongoing between officials of the Ministry of Education and the Guyana Teachers Union on matters relating to teachers' welfare and transfers.

And at another level, dialogue continues and the ministry is examining points submitted by the union in a document aimed at enhancing the welfare of teachers, he reported.

The top education official, noting that some issues were being addressed positively, was, however, not in a position to say to what level the points being addressed can stem the exodus of teachers overseas.

Caesar contended that he like other concerned persons, would like to see teachers receive, among other things, better pay so that they can remain in the country and help national development.

Last year several teachers took up lucrative teaching offers in Botswana and the Caribbean, and according to Caesar, reports from the Caribbean and other places have indicated that officials there were satisfied with the level of their performance.

Some overseas education officials who compared the performance of the Guyanese teachers with theirs, have rated it at a much higher level, he said.

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