World Bank calls for radical modernisation in education


Guyana Chronicle
May 13 , 1999


WORLD Bank official, Mr Hideki Mori has said Guyana, through a radical modernisation of its learning system, must become a nation of thinkers to exploit economic opportunities of the future.

"...it is going to be a big challenge...and the countries that can successfully implement thinking skills and problem-solving skills will be ahead.

"Those that cannot make this transformation will have a very tough time economically, because thinkers will be the dominant force in the economic scene of the 21st century," he added in an exclusive interview with the Chronicle.

The expert, who spent 12 days here recently, stressed that developing nations like Guyana, are compelled to overhaul their education systems to reap the fruits of progress.

Mori suggested drastic changes in this country's In-service and Pre-service teacher training programmes, with instructors promoting more "pro-thinking" activities in the classes.

"...therefore, whoever will be successful in the 21st century will have to be a better processor of information..." he explained.

According to him, it is imperative that teachers are conversant with updated contemporary classroom strategies if they are going to be useful.

"Teachers will have to make a fundamental shift in their thinking to help students...teachers who have not upgraded their skills will have a difficult time helping students," Mori warned.

He said tutors have to be more proficient in developing the thinking processes of those on roll in schools.

"If teachers help students think and analyse better, then they will be able to help those children tremendously because...the world is changing more rapidly..." Mori posited.

He said the use of technology in classrooms will increase and impact on teaching practices.

Memorising facts is giving way to analysis and consolidation of data accessed on the superhighway, the Internet, CD Rom and by other modern means have taken away some of teachers' functions.

"It is much quicker to get facts from these (the internet and CD Rom), because it is faster...more accurate, very colourful and (offer) superior fun.

"Whatever you memorise today will be obsolete two years later," he reminded.

Mori said teachers who will remain relevant are those who familiarise themselves with up-to-date, hi-tech gadgets that are transforming the learning procedure globally.

Noting that some hard decisions are necesary to ensure their future is not jeopardised, Mori advised:"Guyanese must decide what they want. (They) must balance the country's short-term and long-term interests (and) frank and open discussions (about) resource allocation would be helpful."

In the distribution of resources, he acknowledged that some will gain while others lose and the latter would make lots of noises and create problems.

However, it is up to the Guyanese and their Government to determine what is tolerable and what is intolerable.

"Nobody else in the world can answer that question," Mori maintained.


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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples