Ambitious IDB literacy, numeracy project gets underway next year
5,000 teachers, specialists to be trained
Stabroek News
August 12, 2002

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Five thousand teachers, education ministry officials and local specialists are to be trained in the literacy approach under the Basic Education Access and Management Support (BEAMS) project while some 5,000 teachers’ guides are to be produced.

And some 20 teachers holding master’s degrees will receive extensive training to further train 90 literacy and numeracy advisors and 6,712 teachers across the country.

About 1,300 primary teachers will also be given scholarships to upgrade their skills through the Guyana Basic Education Teacher Training (GBETT) programme at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE).

In addition, some 11 secondary schools will be upgraded, equipped and expanded and five new schools built, while a number of other schools are to be rehabilitated and extended to make available accommodation for over 6,000 secondary students.

The BEAMS project, to be executed in two phases over a seven-year period, is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Guyana Government. The first phase, for which the IDB has approved US$30 million, covers a four-year period. It is scheduled to get underway next year, a BEAMS release issued by the Government Information Agency (GINA) said. The GOG counterpart funding is US$3.5 million.

Once a substantial part of the first phase has been completed the IDB is expected to approve an additional US$20 million for the second phase. The counterpart funds will be US$2.5 million.

The entire project is valued at US$57.8 million and is basically a continuation of the Primary Education Improvement Project (PEIP) which was funded by the IDB to the tune of US$51 million.

It is designed to improve the equitable delivery of quality basic education throughout Guyana; strengthen the education ministry’s ability to sustain improved literacy and numeracy attainments in students through the basic education cycle, as well as support the move towards universal secondary education.

In addition, it is expected to enhance the ministry’s capacity to manage sector-wide reform and develop an operational framework for strengthening social sector infrastructure under the HIPC.

This phase covers improved school performance - with a heavy focus on numeracy and literacy; organisational and human resource capacity; and an infrastructural programme. It is expected to build on the PEIP and Early Childhood Education (ECE), GBETT programme and aspects of the Guyana Education Access Project (GEAP) now in place.

Under the literacy sub-component of the improved school performance component, a learning materials package for some 110,000 children from nursery through to level four (Primary Two) will be provided; a new literacy programme will be introduced in the country’s nursery and primary schools in levels two (Prep B) to four with remediation packages and accelerated learning materials to support less able pupils.

Teachers, ministry officials and local specialists will be trained to deal with the literacy approach.

Interactive radio instructions, along with supplemental learning materials, will be utilised for all students from levels one (Prep A) to three (Primary 1), the release said. A combination of radio and CD recordings will be used to benefit 58,000 students in primary level. By the end of the phase some 5,000 teacher guides will be produced.

Some 12,000 pupils, the release stated, will benefit from computers in 20 schools and individualised support in the form of accelerated learning packages (ALP) which will be available in 110 schools.

According to the release, the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) and regional offices will receive scanning, reproduction and analysis equipment to support the implementation of testing and assessment strategies.

In addition, headteachers of all nursery and primary schools will be trained in instructional and administrative leadership.

Moreover, 1,300 primary teachers will be given scholarships to upgrade their skills under the GBETT programme at the CPCE.

To support the reform of the assessment system, 5,000 teachers will receive support to benefit some 110,000 children in the primary level.

Under the same phase which also deals with the organisational and capacity component, the education ministry will run induction programmes for school managers, train new recruits and regional education officers, including 350 headteachers, senior teachers and officers.

Meanwhile, a cadet programme will be instituted; thirty-five experienced managers in the ministry and administrative regions will receive training in management and supervision; and the existing distance education/certification programme for unqualified teachers will be expanded to grant them permanent teaching status.

The implementation of this sub-component would lead to the end of the first phase of the BEAMS project. This sub-component includes the development of Educational Management Information Systems (EMIS), human resource development; and institutional strengthening and financial management.

Under the infrastructure programme in the first phase, 11 secondary schools will be upgraded, equipped and extended; five new schools built; an existing school building replaced; two schools rehabilitated; and three extensions repaired and upgraded.

Six of the schools in rural and remote regions will be provided with student and staff accommodation, while places for some 6,350 secondary students will be made available.

The release said further that the education ministry will also enhance the budgetary provision for school maintenance.

By the end of the first phase it is expected that the revised Education Act would have been passed; the EMIS data bases covering human resources, students, infrastructure, finances and sector performance will have been developed; and a viable programme of remuneration and incentives, professional development opportunities introduced; and improvements in the work place would have been noted.

To support the development of EMIS, additional Management Information Systems (MIS) staff will be provided to the central ministry and regional education departments. The connection of the ministry to information technology project networks will be facilitated since at least 100 schools will receive one computer, laser, UPS and software.

Two hundred ministry staff will be trained as super users for the EMIS programme and the emerging Schools Information Management Systems (SIMS) will be enhanced to cover a larger number of schools.

The institutional strengthening and financial management sub-component will assist the ministry to strengthen the governance of the system and improve institutional capacity.

Senior ministry and Regional Democratic Council (RDC) officials will be members of a special task force and will participate in short-term professional attachments to gain broader exposure to education management structures and organisational cultures.

The task force will address the mandate, responsibilities and the duties of the ministry, the RDCs, Teaching Service Commission, NCERD, CPCE and schools responsible for the delivery of education.