Education Ministry to intensify reading campaign this year
Guyana Chronicle
January 10, 2002

THE Literacy/Numeracy programme is among the priority areas for the Ministry of Education during this year and the reading campaign is to be intensified, Permanent Secretary, Mr. Hydar Ally says.

Officials of the ministry have acknowledged that Literacy/Numeracy is an area that needs special attention within the education system.

Ally told the Chronicle the campaign to sensitise people to the importance of reading would be continued and intensified, noting it is a "tragedy" that many children leave school without the ability to read.

During this year efforts will be stepped up to universalise secondary education.

According to Ally, a goal of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is that every member state should be able to provide universal secondary education by the year 2005.

He said much progress has been made under the Secondary Schools Reform Programme (SSRP) with several tops of primary schools already converted to secondary schools.

These have been equipped with modern facilities, including science and computer laboratories, Ally explained, adding that these efforts will be accelerated during this year.

Another aspect of the education system for special attention in 2002 is the continuation of teacher training programmes, he reported.

In recent years this has been one of the more successful areas with more trained and qualified teachers in the education system than ever before, Ally pointed out.

According to statistics for the years 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001 the number of trained teachers were 370, 419, 509 and 600, respectively. These figures show the progressive increase over the years, Ally said.

He said this situation has resulted in greater competition for places in teacher training institutions, thus more qualified persons enter the institutions, unlike in the past when persons with two or three CXC/GCE subjects entered the system.

The establishment of seven rural in-service training centres and training through distance education has contributed significantly to this improved situation, he said.

Teachers at the Cyril Potter College of Education now receive training in computer education to learn its use and to apply it in classrooms as a teaching aid, Ally said. (CHAMANLALL NAIPAUL)