Education Ministry moves to decentralise system
May 28, 2004
GINA - In an effort to decentralise the education system, Dr. Henry Jeffrey, Minister of Education, and other top officials including Permanent Secretary Ganga Persaud and Chief Education Officer Ed Caesar recently visited Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne) to monitor and evaluate the Region's education system.
A number of areas were looked into, according to Dr. Jeffrey.
"We have a Strategic Plan. They're supposed to have independent Regional Plans, and they have a work programme, so we're checking to see if they're really doing what they are supposed to do," Minister Jeffery told the Government Information Agency (GINA).
He pointed that the Region has performed some of these roles satisfactorily. The exercise will help to assess the Ministry's existing policies and serve to determine whether the move to decentralise the system is a move in the right direction.
Another area looked at was Management and Supervision of Schools. This has to do with whether there are school improvement plans in the Region's schools. The physical facilities, safety devices in schools, attendance and punctuality of teachers and students were among issues dealt with.
The relationship with the community was also looked at. This, the Minister views as very important; he says, "Without this I do not believe we could get very far."
Dr Jeffrey expressed disappointment at the support of parents' participation in the education system. "There is a feeling that parents are not supportive of their children. They want to treat the school as a Day Care Centre," he observed.
He complained that parents do not visit the schools to follow up their children's performances nor do they attend Parent Teachers Association (PTA) meetings. But when officials visit, they are ready to complain about the system.
One of the major concerns that surfaced during meetings was that of inadequate textbooks. However, Minister Jeffrey pointed out that the issue is a central one and the Ministry is moving to address it.
A significant portion of this year's education budget, $660M, is earmarked for learning materials and textbooks. Cabinet also devised a policy to provide textbooks for core subjects in primary and secondary schools. This will cost approximately $1.5M over a three-year period.
The move is part of the Ministry's effort to improve the quality of the education system.
These evaluating and monitoring systems will be ongoing, and taken to other Regions as well, officials said