Competency certificate programme to prepare students for employment
By Chamanlall Naipaul
Guyana Chronicle
January 22, 2004

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A BASIC Competency Certificate Programme is to be introduced in the school system to prepare students for the world of employment.

The programme is to be piloted in two schools in Georgetown - Lodge Community High School and D'Urban Backlands Practical Instruction Centre.

This was announced by Assistant Chief Education Officer (ACEO), Joseph Gilgeous, with responsibility for the Georgetown Education District at a press briefing yesterday at the National Centre for Education Resource Development (NCERD), Kingston.

The BCCP, which will emphasize technical/vocational schools, is to be officially launched during next week, Gilgeous said.

The Georgetown Education District comprises of 109 schools - 39 secondary/community high schools, 33 primary and 37 nursery schools.

As regards the continual assessment of numeracy and literacy skills at level two, Gilgeous said the former has been completed and the latter is to be conducted shortly. He noted that a number of teachers have been equipped with skills in assessment and they will now pass on their skills to other teachers in their respective schools.

With regards to staffing in Georgetown schools, Gilgeous said generally it has been adequate, with qualified persons replacing those teachers that have left who are mostly experienced and qualified. He noted that the replacements are generally inexperienced, but it is hoped that they will remain and eventually become experienced and trained.

One of the major problems being faced at schools in Georgetown the ACEO alluded to is overcrowding. However, he explained that this mainly due to the fact that many parents from outlying areas who work in Georgetown enroll their children at schools there so as to accompany them to and from school. In addition, he said some parents have a perception that schools in Georgetown are better than those in rural areas and as such go out of their way to ensure they attend schools in Georgetown, despite one of the laid down criteria is to register children at schools in or nearest to areas in which they are domiciled.

Gilgeous said another area being addressed in Georgetown schools is a programme to equip them with computers to improve computer literacy. Asked whether there are teachers trained in Information Technology to teach the children, he replied in the affirmative.

As regards construction and rehabilitation of schools the ACEO said his Department has been able to cope with the volume but the pace in some instances has been slow, but most of the schools earmarked last year were completed, except Charlestown and St. John's College at the secondary level and Winfer Gardens at the primary level which would be completed by the end of this month.

For this year a total of 31 schools at the three levels are earmarked for construction or rehabilitation but these would have to await budgetary allocations to prioritise those schools that would be done.

He noted too that the anti-truancy campaign, which was started and is being continued has impacted positively and very few students who were rounded up during the campaigns have left the school system.

Preparations are also underway for this year's Mashramani competition, and competitions for schools in the Georgetown Education District are scheduled for 3rd -6th of next month.