Guyana’s experience, oil education among changes to curriculum says Education Ministry

Education Minister Nicolette Henry and Chief Education Officer (CEO) Marcel Hutson

A new curriculum is being developed for schools, which is seeking to, among other things, incorporate information on the oil sector as well as Guyana’s “unique experiences”.

This is according to Senior Public Relations Officer of the Ministry, Brushell Blackman following the opening of a three day workshop for teachers and other Ministry officials at Regency Hotel, Hadfield Street, Georgetown on Wednesday.

He said that new curriculum will include a number of broad areas, which he acknowledged the Ministry previously overlooked.

According to him, the syllabus will be for Nursery, Primary and Secondary Schools, up to grade Nine, as classes from there on use the Caribbean curriculum to prepare for the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC).

Although Blackman was unable to say when the new curriculum would be ready for, he noted that the Ministry is working on the framework.

He added that the Ministry promised not to drag their feet on the paperwork, as they are fully aware of its importance and vitality at this time.

The Chief Education Officer, Marcel Hutson during the opening ceremony of the workshop also pointed out how critical it is for the curriculum to be updated.

He said, “We are here today (Wednesday) to commemorate the writing of the curriculum which I think is very critical in terms of us moving forward. I think we have been showing good signs of moving forward but again I think a curriculum is essential to this process”.

“This process cannot be a long and drawn out process. I know curriculum writing takes time but it cannot be forever. We don’t have all the time in the world,” he told the teachers, University of Guyana students and other education officials at the session.

Meanwhile, Canadian Consultant, Joanne Thompkins who is working along with the Ministry to create the new paperwork said she was quite excited about the stage the curriculum is at.

Another Education Official noted the importance of updating the syllabus. According to him, “We are here because the curriculum, as we agreed from day one, is in dire need of renewal…this renewal will not be a matter of tinkering but it will be a matter of really making some fundamental shifts”.

The last update to the curricula was done back in 1990.

The Education Minister, Nicolette Henry first revealed plans to review the curriculum back in 2017.

Back in June discussions were held with nine Canadian consultants from the Saint Francis Xavier University and the Mindbloom School, who have been collecting information from educators and schools from various regions across Guyana in a bid to update the system.

Talks were held at the National Centre for Education Research Development NCERD and featured three consultants – Paula Mackinnon, Joanne Thompkins and Jeffery Orr – and administrators from various specials schools where the concerns that surround the education of these children were raised.

While there, several teachers related that the standard school curriculum was used to teach children with disabilities while others informed that the current curriculum is too packed to reach the needs of every student.

Additionally, it was noted that Guyana depends heavily on the assistance of outsiders, which is not as effective as an internal guide. To modify this, the curriculum will be modified to suit the needs of Guyana’s children.

One of the consultants, Paula Mackinnon, gave an insight on the expertise of the consultants that were directed to enhance Guyana’s current syllabus.

“We bring with us, expertise in curriculum development and curriculum reengineering and reform. And then some specific expertise in inclusive pedagogy [and] in subject areas to help explore views of how the curriculum might be enhanced in that regard,” Mackinnon informed.


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