Education Ministry to launch five-year reform plan
Guyana Chronicle
January 14, 2002

THE Ministry of Education will this year begin the implementation of a comprehensive five-year Strategic Plan as part of its continued efforts to reform and improve the education system in Guyana, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Hydar Ally told the ‘Chronicle’.

The Plan was formulated after consultations with a wide cross-section of the society over the past year. The Ministry also benefited from the expertise of an educational consultant in the execution of this exercise, Ally said.

According to Ally, the consultations that took place in every administrative Region, and it involved teachers, parents, and members of the business sector. Out of this process, several strategic issues were identified, and these will be dealt with during the next five years under the Strategic Plan.

A strategic issue in this context, Ally said, is defined as: “A fundamental policy question or challenge affecting an organisation’s mandates, mission values, product or service level and mix; clients, users or payers; or costs, financing structure or management.”

Ally pointed out that strategic issues are very important because of their central role in the political decision-making process that begins with issues. Strategic planning can improve it by affecting the way in which issues are framed and addressed.

The strategic issues identified are:
* The improvement of managerial capabilities of the Ministry of Education

* De-centralisation of the management of the system

* Increase the stakeholders’ level of participation and commitment

* Definition of standards for inputs, processes and outcomes

* Improvement of infrastructure and equipment

* Improving the quality of education in the hinterland Regions

*Acceleration of mainstreaming/inclusion of persons with special needs into the educational system

* Obtaining universal access to secondary education

* Increasing the level of respect and tolerance for diversity

* Producing competent teachers and providing them with better support

* Reduction of the loss of valuable human resources in the system

* Provision of better early childhood education

* Development of more relevant curriculum to the national developmental needs at all levels of the educational system

* Making tertiary education more relevant to the national developmental needs

* Obtaining significantly better levels of literacy and numeracy among students

Ally explained that the relationship between the Ministry of Education and four governmental bodies, is particularly important, and these include the Presidency, which provides national leadership and direction to the development of the country; the Ministry of Finance, which allocates funding; the Ministry of Public Service, which has influence on the availability of human resources and the capability of the Ministry of Education to re-define its own organisational structure, and the Teaching Service Commission which is responsible for appointments and disciplinary matters in the teaching service.

The Permanent Secretary observed that failure to address these relationships effectively would result in delays in the provision of essential inputs into the system and probably hinder the ability to develop a sustainable effort.

Ally said that the mission of the Ministry of Education and the education sector is: “To ensure that all citizens of Guyana, regardless of age, race or creed, physical or mental disability, are given the best possible opportunity to achieve their full potential through access to quality education as defined by the standards and norms outlined by the Ministry.” (CHAMANLALL NAIPAUL)