Encouraging trend in education must be consolidated on Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
August 24, 2002

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AFTER a couple of decades of plummetting education standards and examination results, Guyana seems to be gradually pulling itself out from the education morass.

Guyana in the late 1950s and 1960s was among countries with the highest literacy rate in the English-speaking Caribbean and boasted an efficient education system with a committed and loyal cadre of educators.

Unfortunately, during the period of authoritarian rule there was a general neglect of the education sector, with rundown schools, poor conditions of work for educators, political coercion and a general disruption of the school system.

Students and teachers for years were forced into activities that were not beneficial to education standards and were more geared towards creating crowds and a facade of support for the ruling party at the time.

However, in more recent times, there has been a demonstration of a genuine commitment by the Government to arrest and reverse the dramatic decline in the quality of education being delivered through the education system, despite the recurring problem of teacher migration and constraints of financial and other resources.

The Government and especially President Bharrat Jagdeo have repeatedly reiterated that education is the key to economic and social advancement.

The Government has therefore been allocating increasing budgetary and other resources to the education sector.

In fact international organizations, including the United Nations, are actively advocating and promoting improved education as a key weapon in the struggle against poverty.

Against this background it is therefore encouraging to note that this year's CXC results have shown an overall improvement compared to last year, which also had showed an increase over the previous year.

And more importantly, there have been several outstanding achievements by students not only from schools in Georgetown, but from schools in the rural communities as well.

No doubt the intensified teacher training programmes and greater availability of teaching resources have impacted positively on the improved overall results.

However, as we await a more detailed analysis of the examination results, it would interesting and instructive to see what has been the performance in the areas of English and Mathematics which have been sore points over the years.

This encouraging trend must be consolidated upon, and must be used as the launching pad to continue the upswing in educational standards.

In this respect, the Strategic Education Plan formulated by the Ministry of Education is a long-term programme aimed at sustaining and continuously improving the quality of delivery of education.

Notably it emphasises the improvement of literacy and numeracy skills.

No effort must be spared to continue the improvement of education standards because the economic transformation of this country critically hinges on a nation that is better educated.