GINA outlines objectives of US$55M BEAMS programme

Guyana Chronicle
May 24, 2003

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THE education system in Guyana has achieved significant development, by way of strengthening the physical infrastructure, improving the curricula and providing programme materials over the years, the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported.

The GINA report said the achievements were through the implementation of Basic Education Access Management Support (BEAMS) programme that is continuing to evolve, enabling this country to record more successes at home and abroad.

BEAMS, which was conceived as a comprehensive scheme, is expected to provide a sustainable framework for the enhancement of performance in the sector. Its estimated cost is US$55M, of which Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has allocated US$50M.

The execution is in two phases, one catering for capacity building that would enable the Ministry of Education to manage wide reforms and implement more innovative components of the project.

That phase would lay the foundation for lasting improvements in the equitable delivery of educational services, including the art of mastering core literacy and numeracy competencies early.

It would facilitate the development of policies and strategic programmes in capacity building and institutional accountability, GINA said.

According to GINA, Government has been working to make secondary education universal, so that every child would have the right to it, because of increased access, with the development of a rationalised transition plan, for schools construction, too.

Phase two will offer a window of opportunity to simplify and enhance quality proposals underway in phase one and extend capacity building initiatives at regional and national levels and accelerate the change.

GINA said BEAMS comprises three components geared towards development at various stages.

The first deals with improving performance in schools, at an approximate cost of US9.7M, which would lay the foundation for the mastering of literacy and numeracy skills.

The second puts the focus on enhancing organisational and human resource capacity, to better managerial capabilities for Ministry of Education to deliver quality services, boost its leadership role, decentralise the operational management, improve the competency of teachers and reduce the loss of valuable personnel throughout the system.

The third is to expand accessibility and physical upgrading, with the expenditure of US$15M. This aspect will concentrate on the construction, rehabilitation and extension of secondary schools countrywide to accommodate 6,650 more places for secondary school students, 4,550 of which will be created and 2,100 rehabilitated.

In addition, accommodation would become available for 540 students and 18 teachers in remote hinterland locations.

GINA said the social impact of the entire undertaking will be significant, because BEAMS would promote the inclusion of groups across the ethnic, racial and socio-economic lines.

It is placing great emphasis on social equity to benefit the school age population, especially children from low-income families who are on the margin of both access and achievement.

GINA said BEAMS is building on the extensive national consultation previously undertaken by the Ministry of Education, as part of its sector development plan.

Government’s ability to attract and retain qualified teachers is critical to the strengthening of the sector and it is anticipated that BEAMS would aid this process by monitoring their supply/demand, identify viable compensation strategies and introduce sustainable financial incentives to keep them, GINA said.

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