Education system needs professionals

Stabroek News
May 25, 2003

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Chief Education Officer Ed Caesar has said that the education system does not want persons with political agendas but needs professionals who are concerned with young people and who want to see the country develop.

Delivering the main address at the opening of a two-day workshop for newly-appointed Heads of Regional Education Departments and education supervisors at the National Centre for Educational Resource Deve-lopment in Kingston on Thursday, Caesar told the new recruits that if they were not concerned with young people then they were in the wrong profession and should leave it immediately.

Noting that there had never been as much intervention in the education sector as obtained now, and probably would not be again, he said that the educators were the ones to bring about the necessary changes. If change was going to take place, he continued, the education system did not need hang-ons, but rather persons who would only see children for their potential, regardless of their colour.

Noting that several of the interventions, such as the Secondary Schools Reform Project or the Primary Education Improvement Project, were winding down, he said that the question was whether persons had learnt from those projects and would be able to replicate the lessons learnt through the various programmes.

Speaking of early childhood education, Caesar said that if educators could not get their programme right in early childhood education then they would be denying children their rights and benefits. He referred to the Health and Family Life Education (HLFE) programme, which he said was intended to change attitudes so children could grow up in a disease-free environment.

However, because of the influence of older people on children, he indicated the need to involve the community and parents as well in programmes like HLFE.

Moving to the matter of secondary education, Caesar said that every region must have clear guidelines and show visible action in respect of universal secondary education. He stated that if universal secondary education was not achieved before 2007, Guyana was going to lose several generations.

The time had come, he told his audience, when each child’s performance must be monitored to determine why there were some children who were failing, and establish what should be done to correct this.

Making reference to the new assessments to be introduced at levels two, four and six, the first of which (level two) is being piloted next month, Caesar said that people would be shocked to know that there were some persons in the education system who were not happy with the assessments. This, he said, was because that programme made them more accountable.

Stating that educators cannot be complacent where young people’s education was concerned, he said that there had once been a time in the country when the teachers had met in subject committees to talk about how they were going about their curricula and how to get those who were weak in a particular area back on stream.

He advocated the re-establishment of those subject committees.

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