Draft five-year education plan to be ready by October 1
National advisory commission set up
Stabroek News
September 8, 2001

The Ministry of Education has appointed a National Advisory Commission on Education which will be mandated to come up with a five-year strategic plan.

Minister of Education, Dr Henry Jeffrey, announced on Thursday that it was expected that a draft of the plan would be ready by October 1. He was at the time addressing regional councillors in the Region Six boardroom, on the vision for the education sector.

A ministry press release yesterday announced the members of the commission as Malcolm Parris, Chairman; Father Malcolm Rodrigues; Evelyn Hamilton, Chief Planning Officer, Ministry of Education; Savitri Balbahadur, Principal, Cyril Potter College of Education; Andy Moore; Dr Steve Surujbally, Queen's College PTA; Judy Lall, teacher of the Anna Regina Multilateral School, Omar Ramkeerat, teacher of the JC Chandisingh Secondary School; a representative each from the Guyana Teachers' Union and the Private Sector Commission and the Chief Education Officer and the Dean of the Faculty of Education of the University of Guyana as ex officio members.

Jeffrey stated that apart from the national commission, the ministry was employed in setting up several committees to enhance learning within the education system. These councils will govern the school inspection system and regional educational system. The inspection system was almost "broken down," according to the minister, but it is expected that a different type of managerial system would be put in place to make it effective. This would allow inspectors to function outside their respective regions, so as to avoid favouritism or allegations of favouritism.

He issued a call for parents to be involved in the school system so as to keep the institution intact.

The education minister told Regional Chairman, Rohit Persaud, and his councillors that with the implementation of the regional educational system, the ministry would be responsible for monitoring its policy. And while there would be a chairman from among members of the RDC, the Regional Educational Officer (REdO) would have the responsibility of chief executive officer. It was noted that although the committee's main task would be to address issues of concern to individuals within the system, the REdO must be aware of the issues and be given time to solve them, before they could be dealt with at the board level.

"Education is important for us to survive in the twenty-first century and beyond, because information has so transformed our lives, that it is impossible for us to exist without it in the society," the minister said.

He told the grouping, which consisted of the chairmen/women of the 29 neighbourhood democratic councils in Region Six that persons were of the perception that the level of education was higher yesteryear, but in fact, it was proper management of the then system. "We must say that the good thing was the management of the system, as there were untrained teachers then as we have today. But the heads of the schools were managers."

Dr Jeffrey reiterated that there were several basic things that a teacher should practise including marking of students' workbooks along with written and oral feedback; attending school punctually and working by a timetable.

Heads of schools must be knowledgeable in accounts so as to be accountable for people's money, and have development plans, in order for the institution to succeed, he said. "With Information Technology one can access any university through distance education, and upgrade his/her skills. Now is not the time when we have to make excuses, that because of the unavailability of teachers, we were unable to grasp the fundamentals of education." (Jeune Bailey Van-Keric)