Two training agencies affected by exodus of educators

by Terrence Esseboom
Stabroek News
September 21, 1999

THE CYRIL Potter College of Education (CPCE) and the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD), two key training agencies in the recuperating learning sector, have been hit hard by the recent exodus of educators.

The Cyril Potter College lost 11 lecturers while the faculty of NCERD is affected by the absence of four specialists from the Testing and Measurement Division.

This haemorrhage of educators will severely affect the Ministry's reform programme, and Chief Education Officer Mr Ed Caesar was particularly distressed by the NCERD loss.

"If this area (Testing and Measurement) is not beefed up, then our examinations will be affected," Caesar pointed out.

He explained that the Ministry wants to introduce national Standard One and Form Three tests for students next year, and the loss of educators can jeopardise this enterprise.

"We can't afford to have these plans so affected," Caesar emphasised while speaking to reporters on Friday at the GTV Channel 11 Studios, Homestretch Avenue, Georgetown.

The CEO reported heavy losses among school administrators and university and CPCE-trained teachers attached to secondary institutions.

Caesar said 25 administrators, among whom are Head Teachers and their Deputies, and Heads of Departments resigned, or were absent "without reason" during the first week of this school year which commenced on Monday, September 13.

Sixteen among the lot were graduates from the University of Guyana (UG) or other tertiary institutions, while seven had university education but were not CPCE-trained.

According to the education records, five trained graduates, (those with university and CPCE certificate), 28 trained teachers, nine acting teachers and 11 temporarily qualified masters were also missing during the nationwide survey undertaken by the Ministry last week.

City institutions, including Practical Instruction Centres (PICs), were the most severely affected, Caesar admitted.

The Chief Education Officer also voiced his concern about a group of 55 teachers under the category "absent and unaccounted for".

About these, Caesar explained that they are on approved leave, but the Ministry learnt recently that many of these absent teachers are now employed overseas.

Since the beginning of this year, the education sector has lost dozens of qualified educators to the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Bahamas and Botswana, among other places, because of the attractive remuneration packages offered by those countries.

Guyanese top the list of skilled persons who have migrated to Botswana for employment in various sectors, according to a recent list seen by this writer.

Teachers will reportedly earn between US$1,000 and US$1,500 monthly plus other benefits in Botswana, and it is believed that the package offered by Turks and Caicos compares favourably with these figures.

The CEO ordered the national survey, and asked the probe team to report on a daily basis, beginning last Monday, to ascertain "how grave" the problem is.

According to their findings, all teachers reported for duty in Regions One (Barima/Waini), Three (Essequibo Islands/West Demerara), Eight (Potaro/Siparuni) and Nine (Upper Takatu/Upper Essequibo).

Two educators apparently left the system in Region Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam), while 12 secondary teachers in Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne) did the same.

Only two teachers withdrew their services from the Region Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni) sub-sector, Caesar reported.

Caesar is dissatisfied with the figures collected from Regions Four, (Demerara/Mahaica), and Five, (Mahaica/Berbice), and has asked his officers to re-examine these.

The exodus of teachers from the secondary and tertiary sectors have left vacancies for educators in the subjects of Spanish, Mathematics, History and English Language at the CPCE.

In secondary schools, specialist technical areas such as Home Economics, Industrial Arts, Agriculture Science and Information Technology (IT) were also hard hit by the flight of teachers.

"The departure of teachers is a national issue...every segment of society will be affected," Caesar had told reporters during a previous press conference.

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