Thirty-four more graduate from novel teacher training scheme
Karamat instructor sweeps prizes

Stabroek News
July 26, 2000

The Guyana In-service Distance Education (GUIDE) project "is perhaps the most successful innovation in education which has been introduced in the Guyanese education system over the past decade," Jamaican educator Dr Zellynne Jennings said.

Dr Jennings delivered the main address at the graduation and prize giving exercise for teachers from Regions Five (Mahaica/Berbice) and Six (East Berbice/Corentyne) in the second phase of the GUIDE project at the Ocean View Hotel and Convention Centre yesterday. She said she was convinced of GUIDE's success when she witnessed the achievements of the first batch of GUIDE teachers at the first graduation exercise and later when some graduated from the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) teachers' training programme.

Dr Jennings, who was attached to the University of Guyana for a number of years, announced that she would be returning to the University of the West Indies in her homeland Jamaica shortly.

She said that one of the most memorable episodes of GUIDE was what she called the Karamat (Primary School) experience in the first phase of GUIDE. During the evaluation exercise to appraise three teachers at Karamat in West Berbice, she said, the acting headmistress and two of her young teachers scheduled time for them to study, not only among themselves, but also with others in the school with whom they discussed and shared ideas. The head offered guidance in putting into practice in the classrooms what they had learnt in the modules and interactive sessions. In the end all three did exceedingly well in the programme. Dr Jennings said she believed that the Karamat experience showed the critical role that the head and teachers could play in in-service training and staff development.

She told the graduating batch that GUIDE had given them a launching pad on which to build but the challenges ahead for teachers now were many and varied. More and more, she said, the responsibilities for preparing the present and future generations were being piled on the shoulders of teachers and the teachers' training system.

The graduates might not realise it now, she said, but through their involvement in the programme they had gained many experiences which would put them in good stead when they went for the teachers' certificate programme at CPCE.

Thirty-four teachers in phase two of the teachers' upgrading programme graduated along with 17 from the previous phase. This brought to 110, the number of teachers who have graduated from the GUIDE programme to date since it began in 1995 with funding from the British Government through the Department For International Development (DFID) and the Government of Guyana.

According to DFID Education Field Manager, Desmond Bermingham, DFID contributed some $200 million to the project while central government availed some $100 million. British funding will come to an end with the completion of the second phase, now being conducted in Regions Three (West Demerara/Essequibo Islands) and Ten (Upper Demerara/Upper Berbice). The programme will end this year.

Meanwhile, GUIDE head Florine Dalgety, in her report, noted that the DFID funding complemented government's in the provision of equipment for GUIDE's central office in Georgetown and the regions, the printing of modules and science equipment, the development of specific modules for Regions Four and Ten, and staff development. She said that there was a possibility of a further DFID grant for a pre-GUIDE package. In addition, she noted that with the end of British funding, the government through Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Hydar Ally, had stated government's commitment to continuing the GUIDE programme.

At present, the GUIDE Secretariat is looking at preparing another batch of teachers for upgrading their skills beyond this current phase.

The best graduating student on the programme was Tamashwar Budhoo of Karamat Primary in Region Five. Budhoo was one of four males who graduated from Phase Two of the GUIDE upgrading programme. He copped the Permanent Secretary's Trophy as the best overall student; the Region Five Best Graduating Prize; the Best Integrated Science Student Subject Award; and the GUIDE prize for the highest attendance. (Miranda La Rose)

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