Ministry, IDB launch US$55M basic education programme
Stabroek News
March 26, 2003

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The Ministry of Education and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) officially launched the US$55M Basic Education Access, Management Support (BEAMS) programme on Monday.

The launching took place at the Georgetown Club in the presence of a number of government and local IDB representatives.

Chief Planning Officer Evelyn Hamilton made the presentation on the BEAMS programme which IDB Country Representative Sergio Varas Oleo described as certainly the most ambitious education programme encompassing both primary and secondary levels, the country had undertaken.

The project will be conducted in two phases with the IDB subscribing US$30.5M to the first phase and the Guyana Government US$3.5M. Oleo said the first release of funds under the BEAMS projects had been approved yesterday.

BEAMS' two main objectives are to improve literacy and numeracy at the primary school level and to expand access to secondary schools in the hinterland and poor communities. This will be done in three ways.

The first component is improved school performance costing US$9.7M. This entails developing literacy and numeracy materials and defining standards for these two areas of learning. Trials will be conducted for computer-assisted teaching, and low performing schools will be brought up to standard with accelerated learning packages.

Unqualified teachers will be upgraded to qualified status. The Common Entrance exam is to be eliminated by 2007 and instead a continuous assessment programme of three exams starting in June for Prep B students will determine senior secondary school places.

The second component, Enhanced Organisational and Human Resources Capacity (Cost US$3.47M), covers concepts such as school management with 300 computers being placed in primary schools for administrative purposes, and the delegation of authority to regional education boards among other initiatives.

The last component, Civil Works (US$15M), deals with the physical infrastructure including constructing new schools in underserved areas, repairing and upgrading existing schools and constructing dormitories for students and teachers in rural and remote areas.

This is expected to create or rehabilitate 6650 secondary school student places of which 4,550 will be new.

These three components are to be done over the two phases with the second phase looking towards the goal of universal secondary education.

The Project Implementation Unit of the Ministry of Education will be responsible for the civil works component. The Chief Education Officer and all academic units will be responsible for school performance. The Permanent Secretary and administrative units will be responsible for organisational and human resource development. The Chief Planning Officer and the Planning Unit will be responsible for monitoring and evaluation.

Also present at the launching were Education Minister, Dr Henry Jeffrey, Permanent Secretary Hydar Ally, education consultant Dr Una Paul, and a number of IDB officials including a representative from the Washington DC office.

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