Jeffrey sees functional illiteracy as major task

Guyana Chronicle
April 27, 2001

NEW Education Minister, Dr Henry Jeffrey said Wednesday that his major task in the portfolio is to deal with functional illiteracy.

He announced his intention to form a strategic alliance with Guyana Teachers' Union (GTU) and make every effort to improve the remuneration of its members.

Jeffrey acknowledged that Guyanese teachers are "important in the system" but pointed to the futility of making comparisons with the salaries of their

Trinidad counterparts.

"Trinidad is seven times richer than Guyana," he argued, adding:"We need to look at all the resources at our disposal, not just money and try to do something that will help us to retain our teachers." Jeffrey made the policy statement when he delivered the feature address at the opening of Fort Wellington Secondary School, West Coast Berbice.

He threw out a challenge to parents, teachers and schoolchildren of Guyana to develop the capacity to compete.

"You must develop the capacity to compete and, to do so, we must be on the cutting edge of everything that we do." Jeffrey said all stakeholders in the education system must be motivated. "What exists today may not exist tomorrow,"

he remarked, noting that all Guyanese need to continuously learn if they are to keep abreast of rapid technological changes worldwide.

The Fort Wellington school is included in the Secondary Schools Reform Project (SSRP) and its teachers have had the benefit of training, a library and textbooks, Science and Mathematics equipment and an expansion of their building. The addition to the structure accommodates a

Science laboratory and six additional classrooms.

SSRP Director Dr Kenneth Hunte said the various inputs, also from the Ministry of Education, cost a total of $58.29M.