Collaboration with sister colleges in the region necessary
- CPCE principal stresses at graduation

Stabroek News
June 28, 1999

There is need for the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) to collaborate with its sister colleges in the region, Principal Savitri Balbahadur, said, urging Education Minister, Dr Dale Bisnauth, to explore such possibilities at the next CARICOM Education Ministers meeting.

Delivering the principal's report at the training institution's seventy-first annual graduation exercise at the National Cultural Centre on Thursday, Balbahadur highlighted the absence of development programmes for the teacher trainers as well as their existing conditions of service.

She said that at present many of CPCE staff members had completed or were in the process of completing the Master of Education programme at the University of Guyana, and as such they still remained focused only what was happening in Guyana. Collaboration among sister colleges in the Caribbean would therefore help to widen the perspective of the teacher trainers as well as enhance their capabilities.

In relation to conditions of service, she said that according to the draft education bill, CPCE was classified as a lower tertiary institution, and while its curriculum may reflect this classification, "it is regrettable that our conditions of service remain the same as those of a primary or secondary school teacher."

She said that there was need for CPCE staff to be removed from the teaching service scale and be given conditions of service commensurate with those of a lower tertiary institution. "It is of dire importance that our staff be given sabbaticals or it is feared that the professionalisation process of our teacher educators will be threatened," she said.

Speaking of improved programmes and improvements in general at CPCE, she said that the institution now had the capacity to deliver the certificate programme through the distance mode because of a Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)-funded project. The college, she announced, now had a distance education unit as part of its complex.

Meanwhile, preliminary training programmes for tutors to conduct training by the distance mode in the two pilot regions - Regions One and Eight - are to begin in July 1999. Balbahadur said that it was envisaged that by the year 2000, between the Guyana Basic Education Teachers Training (GBETT) programme and GUIDE, all ten administrative regions would have access to a distance education foundation or upgrading programme for untrained or unqualified teachers.

Pre-service training for teachers from the hinterland and deep riverain areas began in 1996. Some 51 teachers from the hinterland and deep riverain areas had been identified for pre-service training at CPCE for the new academic year. The principal expressed the hope that all the trainees would be successful at the final examinations and would return to their respective areas to teach.

At this year's graduation some 419 teachers graduated. Of those, four students gained distinctions and 112 passed with credit. Three of the four students obtaining distinctions were from the hinterland and deep riverain areas. They included one of the best overall graduating students, Alain Marslowe, the best graduating student on the pre-service secondary academic programme, Lytton Fredericks and Ramona Bennett who was on the pre-service secondary academic programme.

The other student who gained distinction was Mohamed Arjoon. Arjoon shared the Prime Minister's Prize with Marslowe as the best overall graduating student on the pre-service programme. Arjoon also copped the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education Prize for the best overall graduating student on the pre-service programme at teaching practice and the Mayor and City Council Prize as the best graduating student on the pre-service secondary academic programme. Marslowe won the Principal's prize for being the best graduating student on the pre-service primary programme.

Congratulations were also extended to visually impaired graduand, Haslyn Richards, who successfully completed the pre-service primary programme.

The majority of the students who took advantage of the teachers' training programme were female with a ratio of six females to one male. The students were involved in pre-service nursery, primary and secondary training as well as in-service nursery and primary.

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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples