UK volunteers to teach in secondary schools
By Chamanlall Naipaul
August 28, 2003
The delivery of secondary education would receive a boost with the arrival here of a batch of 22 volunteers-the largest ever, from the U.K based Volunteer Trust Project.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Ganga Persaud in welcoming the volunteers yesterday at the Georgetown Club alluded to the dire need for their skills and expertise in the education system.
Persaud told the volunteers that Guyanese students have been performing poorly in Mathematics, Science and English at the CXC examinations, in particular the number of students opting for Science subjects have been dwindling, but he is optimistic that their efforts will greatly help to reverse that trend.
He expressed confidence that at the end of their stint, the volunteers would have whetted the appetite of students to pursue Science, after all realizing that it is not such a difficult subject.
Coming from an entirely different environment, the Permanent Secretary advised the batch that in order for their new venture to be successful and enjoyable there should be a willingness on their part to accept the challenges that would confront them in this new environment.
He also advised the volunteers that they would have to adapt and organise themselves to cope with the Guyanese reality in the classrooms where there is limited available technology.
Pieter Vriesendorkp who hails from Holland, speaking on behalf of his colleagues pledged their dedication to ensure that the outcome of their stint here is a successful one.
He also said he and his colleagues feel very special here because of the hospitality in Guyana, which they have experienced from the time, they arrived at the airport.
Guyana's representative to Volunteer Trust Project, Ms. Kala Seegopaul, explained that the volunteers have to satisfy certain requirements before they are selected to serve. Among those requirements are GCE-A- Levels with a minimum of Grade B, possession of a musical skill, ability to be creative and innovative and they must raise individually 3,000 ponds sterling which is put into the Trust Fund to help finance their stay in the country they are sent to serve.
They undergo one year of training in teaching and other skills before they depart to serve.
During their one-year stay here the Government would provide a salary to them comparable to a Guyanese with similar qualifications and accommodation.
Ms Seegopaul explained that the programme is a continuous one over a five-year period so when this batch completes its stint another batch replaces it.
Each volunteer is also required to execute a community support project in his or her respective location, she added.