New education plan to fast track human resource development
--- US$2.2M funding from Netherlands
July 12, 2003
GINA - THE Ministry of Education as part of its mandate in upgrading the education system in Guyana has drafted the Education Strategic Development Plan for 2003-2007, with the aim of achieving quality education and producing a literate and numerate society.
The Government of Guyana is fully supportive of the plan. Education and in particular basic education has been clearly articulated as a National Priority in the PPP/Civic Government. Due to other priority needs in our society, such as health, improved drainage and irrigation, the Government cannot budget for all the education Ministry’s programmes.
Minister of Education Dr. Henry Jeffrey said, “The changes in the socio-economic and political development over the years have drastically affected the development of the education system”. He added that, “the Ministry’s strategic plan will provide the necessary outline until 2007.”
The Fast Track Initiative which is part of the Ministry’s strategic plan proposes to improved the quality of the teaching force in the Hinterland by training qualified teachers. Using the GBET approach, constructing teachers’ houses, providing allowances for basic needs and extra teacher support services. Majority of the Hinterland students are exposed to unqualified and under qualified teachers, due to poor conditions of service and recruitment by overseas-based agencies.
The programme also seeks to enhance the teaching and learning environment, strengthen schools and community partnerships by, upgrading the present school-feeding programme and accelerate the implementation of school improvement plans.
The Netherlands Government will facilitate the reality of this project by making available two million Euros, through the flexible trust fund, which is being established with support from a number of donors at the current exchange rate that is slightly above US$2.2M.
Barbara Bruns, head of the EFA Fast Track Secretariat stated, “funds have not yet been identified beyond 2003, and hopes that existing donors in Guyana will be able to identify some funding in the coming months.” The International donor partnership has asked to be kept informed of cases where financing is not forthcoming and should there be continuing problems in finding the required finance for Guyana, the organization is prepared to highlight it to the donor partnership.
Dr. Jeffrey said, “the Education Ministry is dedicated to ensuring that all citizens of Guyana regardless of age, race, physical or mental disability are given the best possible opportunity to achieve their fullest potential.” The Minister added that, “this will be done through equal access to quality education for all Guyanese.”
Despite the economic troubles in the last few years, the PPP/C Government has made tremendous efforts to strengthen the education sector. Since the early 90’s, the Government has consistently increased the spending on education. In the years 1991-1997, Government expenditure through the Ministry of Education has increased to an average of 3.6 per cent on the country’s GDP and 7.5 per cent of the total government spending. By 2000, it has grown to 7.3 per cent of the GDP and 14.5 per cent of the National Budget.