Remedial education needed at technical, vocational schools - Bisnauth

Stabroek News
March 18, 2000

Education Minister, Dr Dale Bisnauth, has highlighted the need for remedial education to be incorporated into the training programmes of technical and vocational schools to reduce the rate of functional illiteracy.

Dr Bisnauth was delivering the main address at the 34th annual graduation of the Guyana Industrial Training Centre (GITC) Wednesday at the Critchlow Labour College auditorium.

He said that relevant diagnostic tests in literacy and numeracy should be required of every applicant seeking admission to technical and vocational institutions.

Some 167 students graduated from the full-time and part-time courses in a number of disciplines including agriculture, mechanics, carpentry, electrical works, fitting/machining, masonry, plumbing and welding.

The programme was interspersed with musical renditions by the Banks Invaders Steel Orchestra. The presentation of prizes and certificates was made by Sylvia Conway, Head of the Drop-in-Centre for street children project, Main Street.

Dr Bisnauth's plea comes against the background of the admission of a number of functionally illiterate students to technical and vocational training centres.

He reiterated the need for a literacy and numeracy policy for technical training institutions on the assumption that the decline in the standard of education in Guyana over the past two decades had left many students in need of being taught how to learn.

In terms of numeracy, Dr Bisnauth said, mathematics was essential in problem-solving while literacy was indispensable for human communication.

People who were not numerate or literate and could not comprehend the changes and developments taking place in today's world, he said, would be made redundant. They would have to step aside to allow people with the requisite knowledge and expertise to take over.

Emphasising the importance of functional literacy, Dr Bisnauth said the demand for computer literacy would also require persons to demonstrate adaptability, teachability and basic communication skills. The kind of education being delivered must be relevant, useful, applicable and anticipatory of the future, he stated.