Education Ministry launches international literacy programme
…centre to upgrade the skills of classroom teachers

Kaieteur News
March 9, 2007

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The Ministry of Education yesterday officially launched the Guyana Chapter of the Caribbean Centre of Excellence for Teacher Training (CCET) at the Tower Hotel.

Professor Stafford Griffith, of the University of the West Indies (UWI) and Director of CCET at the Mona Campus, Jamaica , certified the entity.

He noted that the objective of the programme is to upgrade the skills of classroom teachers so that they will be effective reading instructors in the primary grades of one to three.

Guyana 's launch coincides with the beginning of the second phase of CCET in the Caribbean . The first phase began in September 2002 and ended in September 2006.

The current phase began in October 2006 and will conclude in September 2009.

The project is the fruition of an initiative launched by US President, George W. Bush through which three centres - the Andean Region, Central America and the Dominican Republic , and the Caribbean - were established to achieve universal literacy.

The regional project implementation unit for the Caribbean centre is based at UWI's Mona campus.

The project, which is funded by the United States via the USAID programme, is anticipated to train at least 20,000 teachers throughout the various regions to reach a minimum of 650,000 students.

Within the participating countries, project execution is supported by units located in the local teacher training colleges.

Guyana 's unit is located at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) at Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara.

The launch takes the number of participating countries in the region to seven and includes Belize , Grenada , Jamaica , St. Lucia , St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago .

In an address to the gathering of teachers and students, Minister within the Ministry of Education, Dr. Desrey Fox said that Government has committed the Education Ministry's full support to the programme which she said will bring new hope in the achievement of nationwide literacy.

Fox noted that literacy is indispensable to economic development. To date, in excess of 2,000 teachers have already been trained with over 17,000 students benefiting from the programme.

Present at the launching ceremony was US Ambassador to Guyana , Mr. David Robinson, who

noted that no job can be more important than that of teaching children to read.

Robinson advocated for facilitators to be pre-emptive in their approach to the programme since it requires a sustained commitment for it to succeed.

Minister of Education, Shaik Baksh said that the government is committed to achieving 100 per cent literacy in the country which is evident in the Basic Education Access Management System (BEAMS).

He indicated that the CCET programme has been integrated seamlessly with the BEAMS, and facilitators of the BEAMS are even learning from CCET.

The audience was entertained by the Guyana Police Force Orchestra and cultural pieces which featured Patentia Primary School 's entry at the children's mash calypso competition, the Bishops' High School choir, and two CPCE students singing a song of praise.