National Advisory Commission on Education appointed
Guyana Chronicle
October 7, 2001

A NATIONAL Advisory Commission on Education has been established as a key part of an education strategic development plan.

Chairman of the commission is Mr. Malcolm Parris, teacher.

Other members named in a statement by Education Minister, Dr. Henry Jeffrey are:

Father Malcolm Rodrigues, priest; Ms. Evelyn Hamilton, Chief Planning Officer, Ministry of Education; Ms Savitri Balbahadur, Principal of the Cyril Potter College of Education; Mr. Andy Moore, self-employed; Dr. Steve Surujbally, Queen's College Parent Teachers Association; Dr. Clyde Roopchand, Private Sector Commission; Mr. Bertram Hamilton, Guyana Teachers' Union; Ms. Judy Lall, teacher of the Anna Regina Multilateral School; Ms. Modesta Gomes, Deputy Headteacher, Santa Rosa Primary School; Dean of the Faculty of Education of the University of Guyana, ex officio and Chief Education Officer, ex officio.

Jeffrey said the terms of reference for the commission will be:

1) To advise the minister on such matters connected with education as the commission thinks fit. The commission must keep itself informed about developments in educational theory and practice at the global level. It must also be kept informed about policy decisions, programme development implementation in Guyana as a whole. It should therefore have access to material such as the Education Act and Regulations, the annual report of the Ministry of Education, the five-year education plan, report of the Head of the Inspectorate on visits to schools, and reports from private schools.

2) To advise the minister on such matters connected with education as the ministry may refer to the commission. On the basis of available information about educational developments at both national and global levels, the commission may recommend innovations in the education system for the improvement of the Guyanese society.

3) To consider views expressed by members of the public on such matters connected with education as may be referred to the commission.

4) To review current education programmes and practices and make recommendations to ensure equity in the delivery of the services across the regions of Guyana.

5) To make recommendations for the effective participation of citizens in the provision and implementation of the education service.

6) To organise and execute seminars, workshops and study sessions to update members.

7) To report on a continuing basis to the Minister of Education; and to prepare an annual report for submission through the minister to the National Assembly.

8) To prepare and submit an annual programme of work and budget to the Permanent Secretary.

Jeffrey said the ministry is formulating an education development plan for 2002-2007 through a national consultation process, and has established a strategic planning committee to steer its operations.

The implementation of the plan will be based on the principles of inclusion, transparency and the formal involvement of all education stakeholders in a sustainable partnership through shared responsibility, he said.

Fifteen priority issues identified are:
1) Improvement of the managerial capabilities of the ministry.

2) Decentralisation of the management of the system.

3) Increasing the level of participation and commitment of the stakeholders.

4) Defining standards for inputs, processes and outcomes.

5) Improvement of infrastructure and equipment.

6) Improvement in the quality of education in the hinterland regions.

7) Acceleration of the mainstream/inclusion of persons with special needs into the education system.

8) Achievement of universal access to secondary education.

9) Increasing the level of respect and tolerance for diversity.

10) The production of competent teachers for the system and the provision of better support.

11) The reduction of the loss of valuable human resources from the system.

12) Ensuring the relevance of the curriculum at all levels, making it possible for all Guyanese to be more productive and to live a fuller life in the context of the global trends in the 21st century.

13) Improvement in Early Childhood Education. Ensuring that tertiary education is responsive to the needs of students and the society as a whole.

14) Providing significantly better levels of literacy and numeracy among students and the general population.

15) The use of Information and Communication technology.

Jeffrey said the deliberations of the commission will contribute to the management of a sector wide approach through direct linkage with the strategic planning committee.

He explained that there was need to develop an education strategic development plan (ESDP) designed and implemented through a more integrated approach to sector development which will address issues of poverty reduction and national unity.

The main element of the sector wide approach (SWAp) are:

1) Allocation of resources will be governed by the (SWAp) rolling work-plan.

2) The ESDP will be central to the SWAp process and will take the following into account:

- education policy formulation

- education monitoring and evaluation

- development and recurrent budget and financial systems

- domestic, funding agency, private sector and NGO resources and

- the nursery, primary, secondary and tertiary sub-sectors.

3) There will be progressive harmonisation of funding agency support and procedures and the 'rules of the game' will govern how funding fits with the ESDP.

Jeffrey said the national advisory commission on education is a key institution in the SWAp process.