Workshop on hinterland education opens
March 14, 2003
The Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) in collaboration with the Guyana Basic Teacher Training Project (GBET) yesterday opening a special two-day stakeholder workshop at the Ocean View International Convention Centre.
The workshop organised by GBET, which is a Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) funded project for improving education, and by CPCE, will involve a roundtable discussion on teacher education in the hinterland.
The objective of the programme is to solicit from the various stakeholders of the GBET project, feedback, information and recommendations, which will be used as the basis of a proposal for a possible extension of the programme.
Representatives were invited from the GBET's target regions of One, Two, Seven, Eight and Nine.
In his remarks Minister of Education, Dr Henry Jeffrey said the educational sector had to develop for the sake of the country "and one of the things that has been preventing that development is a dysfunctional political process..."
But he said that at any level of resources it was possible to make improvements. "It is possible for us to do marginally better with the resources we have at our disposal, and we must try; we cannot say we can't improve ourselves..."
Jeffrey said that one of the most important interventions that could be made in the education process must be the whole question of distance education. "I am not seeing this programme as hinterland... my vision is of an in- service training programme for all Guyana. That's the vision I have, not just for the hinterland.
My vision is to use distance to help to train managers, without proper school management, and that is one of the reasons why we are decentralizing... we are absolutely whistling in the wind. The school, the unit has to be properly managed..."
The minister pointed out that there had been a number of strategic plans but those were only to give an overall concept. "At the end of the day it is the man who is minding the shop; he is the man that is going to make the basic process in education, perhaps we should call it value added, but that's the guy out there, you have to train that guy to be a manager, not a headmaster."
The minister said when persons took a job they should not wait on their employer to train them but the onus was on them to learn the work. "Nevertheless I recognise that the Ministry of Education also as part of the process should facilitate the learning process."
Head of AID, CIDA in Guyana, Murray Cam said the ministry had formally requested CIDA to continuing funding the project. "But as you know most donors don't write cheques on the basis of a letter from a permanent secretary, a minister or even a president... In any case the next step that the ministry needs to do is in fact to provide CIDA a more substantive project..."
Those present at forum include, the Regional Chair-man, the Regional Executive Officer, the Chairman of the Education Committee of the Regional Democratic Council, the Regional Education Officer and the District Education Officer from each region, among others.
The facilitators for the workshop are, Vice Principal, Curriculum and Instruction of CPCE and Rene van Dongen from UNICEF.