Guyana gets US$6.7M from World Bank to improve education sector

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The Government of Guyana has been able to secure approval from the World Bank for a US$6.7 million grant from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), which will go to improving Guyana’s education sector.

According to a statement from the bank, the project will be aimed at improving learning in nursery schools, increasing the use of technology in primary schools, and improving the functionality of the national education management information system.

The money is being administered under the Guyana Education Sector Program Project. World Bank Resident Representative for Jamaica and Guyana, Ozan Sevimli, was quoted as speaking of the importance of education to unlock Guyana’s human capital potential.

“Guyana’s education sector has made progress in the last 15 years. There have been improvements; however, the learning outcomes remain low, and improving the quality of education at all levels will be the priority for Guyana to develop its human capital,” Sevimli said.

Meanwhile, GPE Chief Executive Officer Alice Albright has said that with the global COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it has had on the education sector, it is important for Guyana to get all the help it can get for its education sector.

“As the impact of the pandemic on education is still being felt around the world, GPE’s support to strengthen education in Guyana is more critical than ever. GPE will continue to help make Guyana’s education system more resilient and effective, so that the most vulnerable girls and boys can go to school and learn,” Albright said.

It was explained in the statement that at the nursery level, money for the project will support teacher training, to improve how teachers approach learning as well as delivering a new curriculum.

“The training will include foundational skills as well as student-centred pedagogy, formative assessments, and socio-emotional aspects which are of particular importance during the pandemic. The project will also provide learning materials and deliver parental education,” the statement said.

“At the primary level, the financing will equip schools with computer tablets to enable them to use technology for foundational skills like mathematics and literacy, as well as smart classrooms to support learning. Given the inequitable access to learning during the school closures, technology-assisted learning can facilitate teaching and cater to more learning styles for students with different needs.”

It was further explained that the project will finance the further development and roll out of an integrated education management information system at the national level in the nursery, primary and secondary sectors.

“This enhanced system will generate information, enabling stakeholders across levels to make informed and evidence-based decisions. This project will complement two ongoing projects financed by the World Bank’s International Development Association.

“The Education Sector Improvement Project aims to improve mathematics education and the University of Guyana’s Faculty of Health Sciences. The Secondary Education Improvement Project is also strengthening innovative teaching methods, increasing enrollment in secondary schools, and supporting school construction,” the World Bank said.

GPE, of which the World Bank Group is a member, is a global fund that focuses on financing education-related projects to help students in lower income countries achieve a quality education, one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Since the People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) return to power, it has made the delivery of smart classrooms and schools a priority. Earlier this year, the Education Ministry commissioned smart classrooms at the Brickdam Secondary School and the East Ruimveldt Secondary School in Region Four, and a smart classroom at the Leonora Secondary School in Region Three.

It was announced that all smart classrooms will have an interactive board, a television that allows teachers and students to connect remotely, and motion and voice-activated cameras complete with a face recognition feature.