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A Ministry release said the project seeks to improve literacy and numeracy standards, teacher preparation, supply and demand, the use of innovative technologies in education delivery, increased access to quality education in remote and disadvantaged areas and the improvement of the management of the school at regional and central levels.
BEAMS will be incorporated into the work programmes of the Ministry of Education and will be implemented over a seven-year period in two phases.
During the first phase, teachers will be trained in the effective use of strategies for enhancing literacy and numeracy of pupils from early childhood to the end of the primary school cycle.
The use of innovative technologies, including the use of computer technology, Internet linkages, video tutoring and interactive radio, will be an integral part of the training and learning strategies for teachers and pupils. Parents and the wider community will also play an important role in the programme for the enhancement of pupil achievement.
BEAMS comprises two major components - Improved School Performance and Organisational and Human Resource Capacity.
The objective of the Improved School Performance component is to enable all students to achieve essential reading skills by Grade 4 and possess appropriate mathematical skills by Grade 3.
The Ministry’s literacy programme will provide learning packages for all children from nursery to Grade 4 levels and a new literacy programme will be in place in all 420 nursery and primary schools in years two to four of the project.
There will also be a remediation package and accelerated learning materials to support less able pupils. Five thousand teachers, education officials and local specialists will be trained in literacy approach.
In addition, a combination of radio and compact disc recordings will be used to benefit 58,000 students in primary grades, while 5,000 teacher guides will be produced.
The use of computers will benefit 12,000 pupils in 20 schools and individualised support, in the form of accelerated learning packages, which will be available in 110 schools.
The National Centre for Education Resource Development (NCERD) and regional offices will receive scanning, reproduction and analysis equipment to support the implementation of testing and assessment strategies.
Twenty teachers will receive training to become trainers for 90 literacy and numeracy advisers and 6,712 teachers across the country. The headteachers of all 431 nursery and primary schools will be trained in instructional and administrative leadership, as well.
Cluster centres will be supplied with audio and video technology to the lead school that would be networked with a larger Regional Democratic Council resource centre.
The implementation of the Organisational and Human Resource Capacity component is to enable the Ministry to strengthen its monitoring and evaluation capacity and to develop an integrated Education Management Information System (EMIS), and to support asset management and instructional activities.
The Ministry’s programme will build on the achievements of other projects, such as the Primary Education Improvement Project (PEIP), Early Childhood Education (ECE), Guyana Basic Education Teacher Training (GBET) and aspects of the Guyana Education Access Project (GEAP).
The programme has been developed within the Ministry’s Strategic Development Plan for 2002-2007 that has emanated from the National Development Strategy and the Poverty Reduction Strategy through nationwide consultations with stakeholders in 2001.
National advisers drawn from the University of Guyana, the Cyril Potter College of Education and other local sources will lead the process of training teachers and imparting their expertise in school practices with international technical assistance provided under the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) loan agreements. - (CHAMANLALL NAIPAUL).