- Expansion of TVET for Regions one, seven and nine - Minister Nicolette Henry tells NTC
Minister of Education, Hon. Nicolette Henry highlighted the importance of Teacher Training and Support today by describing it as the "bedrock of education delivery".
This point was made at the fourth day of the 12th Annual National Toshaos Council Conference 2018 being held at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre.
Speaking to the Toshaos, delegates and senior councillors of Indigenous communities across Guyana, Minister Henry informed that currently there are 565 teachers from hinterland communities that are being trained.
To further improve teaching capacity, the Education Minister reminded that in February of this year the Teacher Upgrading Programme was re-launched in Paramakatoi after a 10-year hiatus.
She said that currently, 64 teachers have enrolled themselves in that Upgrading Programme. Minister Henry urged the community leaders to encourage other teachers within their villages to register and benefit from what the programme has to offer so that quality of education delivery can be improved.
Additionally, the Education Minister highlighted that of equal importance and relevance to indigenous communities is the strengthening and expansion of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
She said that funding has been received from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to ensure that TVET is established in the regions through the Practical Instruction Centres (PIC) and Departments. As such, Minister Henry said that her ministry has undertaken to expand TVET in Regions one, seven, eight and nine.
Further, Minister Henry highlighted also that establishing working partnerships is critical to moving the education process forward. She said that one important component of this is parental involvement in the education system.
The Education Minister urged the Indigenous leaders to encourage their communities to participate in the stakeholder engagements that are held in their communities by the Ministry of Education. Dwelling on this point, Minister Henry reminded the confab about the many Town Hall meetings that have been held across Guyana aimed at engaging parents and other community stakeholders.
She said that residents need to take advantage of these opportunities since they are given a chance to voice their concerns and make recommendations to address serious issues.
Minister Henry also noted the need for system strengthening. She said that this relates to implementing systems and strategies to reduce the disparity in the delivery of education by placing a special emphasis on indigenous communities. This she said will result in ensuring that children in the hinterland can receive the similar quality of education that is delivered on the coast.
Those gathered at the Convention Centre today were also told about the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) through smart classrooms and computer software.
She added that efforts have been made to make the delivery of education culturally relevant which has led to the creation of some textbooks for early childhood education in four of the indigenous languages.
According to Minister Henry, important to system strengthening is infrastructure development. She informed the gathering that this year a Conditions Survey was started which will give the Ministry a status update on the conditions of the schools. The information gathered from this venture will be used to inform the process of the repairing and refurbishing of schools.
As part of this morning’s engagement, Minister Henry was required to field questions from the various indigenous leaders. Some of the issues raised concerning education were addressed while a commitment was made by the Education Minister to have further engagements on the other matters through officers of the Ministry.
The other Ministers that engaged the Indigenous Leaders this morning were Minister of Communities, Hon. Ronald Bulkan, Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Noel Holder, Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Hon. Sydney Allicock, Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Hon. Keith Scott and Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Hon. Valerie Garrido-Lowe.