6 new Learning Channels to be established

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Education Minister Priya Manickchand

Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand says six new learning channels will soon be established to allow students across Guyana to access learning programmes virtually, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some $200 million was allocated in the Emergency 2020 Budget for the expansion of the Guyana Learning Channel. It will target students from Nursery Year One through to Grade Eleven.

The Education Minister told the National Assembly on Friday that the initiative was in keeping with the Government’s vision to utilise technology to boost education delivery.

“This Budget that you [the Opposition] said does not provide anything for anyone is giving $200M for the expansion of the channel [allowing us to have] six learning channels at the same time. We can even start programmes from 10 to 3 … that is the vision of this government. That is putting your money where your mouth is because we want to serve the people,” Minister Manickchand said.

The Learning Channel forms part of the Educational Sector Strategy Plan (ESSP) to use technology to push distance education countrywide.

“The learning channel was launched by the PPP/C in 2011 by the then President Bharrat Jagdeo with the vision to provide education to all parts of this country, especially for the children in the hinterland communities and that is what we aim to do,” the Minister said.

She stated that the Opposition’s unwillingness to support this year’s Budget was unreasonable.

“You are taking away from the children of this country, the ability to get the teaching that they desire and deserve,” Minister Manickchand stated.

So far, the Guyana Learning Channel has been operating on a timetable teaching schedule from 8 am to 6 pm. It provides at least two hours of programmes for the nursery to Grade 11 students.

Additionally, Minister Manickchand said $15 million was allocated for the establishment of an Education Radio Station. This initiative, she said, would allow the Ministry to provide daily educational programmes, instead of using other radio stations for a mere two hours or less to do the same.

The Budget also allocated money to provide masks for teachers and students when they eventually return to their schools. Sums have also been earmarked to install sinks and water service in schools to ensure the safety of students and teachers.