During the Commission of Inquiry’s (CoI) first hinterland engagement, education officials including head teachers, teachers and parents from Region 7 (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) Department of Education received the opportunity to voice their opinions on Friday, as examination into the education system continues.
At the meeting with the CoI, representatives from 16 schools across the Region, including Phillipai, Kako, Jawalla, Waramadong, Quebanang Wax Creek, Paruima, and Imbamadai were present at the Kamarang Primary School to make their verbal contributions, according to a press release from the Ministry of Education.
Addressing the audience in a gathering which consisted of the Community’s Doctor, and Law Enforcement Officers, among others, the Chairman of the CoI, Ed Caesar, elaborated on the significance of the COI in the Ministry’s plan to strengthen the education sector.
“We have to hear from our brothers and sisters about how the education system affects them. Nothing is too small or too big to talk about,” Caesar stated, adding that, “we want the country to prosper but it cannot happen unless the education system so facilitates.”
According to the release, issues regarding the delivery of education in the Region were disclosed to the Commission, and several speakers highlighted that the pupil-teacher ratio “was too high”, hence not allowing effective supervision.
Recommendations made for the Nursery Level asserted that the ratio should be 1:15, while Primary Level required the ratio to be 1:20 and Secondary being 1:30.
Additionally, calls were made for the Ministry to bring secondary schools in the Region up to par with those on the coast by ensuring that the schools’ curricula include technical subjects such as Home Economics, Wood Working, and Information Technology.
Furthermore, it was also noted that there is a significant need for welfare officers to cater to the needs of both teachers and students. Other recommendations included the call for disbursement of benefits before retirement age, the introduction of Amerindian languages in the schools curricula, more support to address the high cost of living in the Region, as well as more special education teachers and opportunities to be presented for persons to be allowed to pursue studies at the University of Guyana via the distance mode, the release said.
Meanwhile, according to the Regional Education Officer (REdO), Charles Holmes, a few of the programmes implemented by the Ministry have been quite successful, including the “Hot Meal” initiative.
He stated that 11 out of 16 schools do not have access to computer labs, and there are future plans to ensure that the remaining schools gain this same benefit by the end of 2016.
Teachers in the Region are urged to utilise the Information and Communication Technology to aid their work, especially as it relates to their timely completion of reports and lesson plans.
The CoI plans to host public consultations in Region 1 (Barima-Waini) – Port Kaituma, Mabaruma and Moruca from September 14- 17, 2016.
The Inquiry into the education sector began in April of this year and is expected to conclude in December, 2016.