Success of SSRP scheme lauded By Stacey Davidson
Guyana Chronicle
December 8, 2001

THE Secondary Schools Reform Project (SSRP) has become a success story characterised by the rehabilitation of 12 pilot schools countrywide, and its current focus on the School Improvement System.

"I am happy that the SSRP, during the past five years (was able) to provide access to equal opportunities. Secondary education has now been translated into a mission of the Government, which is to provide universal access to secondary education by year 2003," said Director of SSRP, Dr Kenneth Hunte.

He was speaking yesterday at the SSRP's fourth Annual Award Ceremony at the Umana Yana, Kingston.

Dr Hunte stated that all the stakeholders -- Education Departments, parents, students and the wider community -- will have to work collaboratively in order to develop and implement the school improvement plan.

"...and this school improvement plan must provide the conditions that will ensure that all secondary students have the opportunity to demonstrate that they know, and understand (their roles)".

For the first time, the SSRP presented awards to non-pilot schools in keeping with its objective, that is, the project's social awareness campaign with the establishment of the curriculum and a Teachers Guide. Hunte said that the SSRP Secretariat has consistently made strong demands for schools to be accountable to all the stakeholders of the education system for effective delivery of the curriculum.

"That is to say, schools must demonstrate that they are meeting the learning needs of individual students," he pointed out.

The SSRP Director stated that the development of a common curriculum and continuous assessment in the Forms 1 to 4 tests, paved the way for this year's inaugural National Third Form Examination, and consequently, the elimination of the Secondary Schools Proficiency Examination (SSPE) Parts 1 and 2, which he said had very little or no market value.

The top ten performers in the Third Form examination were drawn from six non-pilot schools located in Regions Two, Three, Four and Seven and Georgetown.

"The stage is now set for all secondary schools to set their own targets for improvement of their schools’ overall performances as well the average school performance from each of the four core subjects that are to be tested in 2002 and beyond," Dr Hunte remarked.

Further, he said, the National Third Form Examination is a diagnostic assessment tool that can be used as a predictor of student performance at the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) tests as well as to identify and meet the learning needs of individual students preparing to write that examination.

"Parents and teachers armed with this information have the opportunity to work collaboratively to enable the individual students to achieve maximum success,” Dr Hunte added.

The SSRP Director indicated that the development of standards for the physical facilities is a big task, because it was very expensive to rehabilitate and extend the 12 pilot schools during the last year.

Nevertheless, he disclosed, the Secretariat has undertaken to repair 20 non-pilot schools selected from all ten administrative Regions and in Georgetown, and work should commence by the end of the first quarter of 2002.

The pilot schools were also provided with materials including books and equipment to facilitate effective teaching and learning.

Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Desiree Bernard, who delivered the main address, urged the students to strive for excellence in their future endeavours.

"Cease accepting secondary standards. You have to correct mediocrity," she challenged them.

According to her, there is no substitute for hard work, and in order to have a good life one should take education seriously since knowledge opens doors to many opportunities. Ms Bernard exhorted the students not to fall prey to the ‘flashy lifestyle’, which is fraught with danger.

She told the awardees that they are fortunate to be born in this new era of the Information Highway, on which they can access information with the ‘click of the mouse’. She urged them to make full use of this opportunity.

Chancellor Bernard admonished the students to widen their vocabulary by reading extensively, and to use the English Language properly.

"Language is important, use it with grace," she said. She further advised them to set themselves goals and work assiduously to achieve those goals.

Awards were made to students for excellent performances at the National Third Form Examination. Prizes were also given to students for attaining the highest marks in the four core subjects -- English, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. Teachers and students with perfect attendance records were honoured also.

Caribbean Star makes first flight to Guyana
ANTIGUA-based Caribbean Star Airlines made its first flight into Guyana yesterday morning, and became the latest addition to a slew of airlines linking this country with the rest of the world.

Aboard were President and Chief Executive Officer of Caribbean Star, Mr Paul Moreira; Director of Public Relations, Caribbean Sector Ms Avonelle H. Pole; Guyanese-born Mr Frankie Francois, Director, Maintenance and Mr Shane E. Pilgrim, Regional Sales Manager/South Caribbean.

They were met by Mr K. Ramjohn, Director of Caribbean Atlantic Travel (CAT), who is Caribbean Star’s general sales agent in Guyana.

Speaking with reporters in the Executive Lounge of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Mr Moreira said yesterday’s event was a proud day for Caribbean Star, whose slogan is ‘A Whole New Altitude’.

“Today is just another step in our future, a great and exciting future of uniting the Caribbean, Guyana, South America, and throughout the rest of the Caribbean,” he remarked. Moreira disclosed that the airline, which has been in operation for only 14 months, has already flown over quarter of a million people to various destinations.

He said the Guyana link is the result of a partnership with the people and Government of Guyana. (Wendella Davidson)