All stakeholders need to pool efforts to strengthen education sector – Minister Manickchand
Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand is calling for an ‘all hands on deck’ approach with the support of parents, teachers, students and other officials, as the ministry continues with its efforts to strengthen the education system.
She was speaking during the Georgetown Department of Education’s Awards ceremony hosted on Wednesday.
“We are committed to meeting the needs of the Guyanese children in ways that make sense to them, while not compromising on quality or value or the equivalence of the education that should be comparable with the rest of the region and the rest of the world,” Minister Manickchand said.
The minister also expressed confidence in the current crop of education officers describing them as the “best collection of education officers that the ministry has ever had at one point,” making reference to the achievements in the sector amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We expect better to come. There are always complaints that can be made, somebody step broken, shouldn’t be, it should be fixed quickly, somebody didn’t get the cardboard needed, we are trying to fix those things, but there can always be an excuse made, and there can always be ways found around the excuse to teach people’s children,” the minister asserted.
She acknowledged that there are a number of challenges that teachers face. “But we can no longer tolerate, for lengthy periods, sloth and inefficiency in the system, and I want to say very clearly, that our movement now because that’s what I see it as, is not a big stick movement, it’s more a nurturing. We will hold your hand and counsel you to a better place, together we will move this sector to a better place, in that you will see more teachers, you will see more trained teachers.”
In relation to teachers’ training, the education minister noted that in the midst of the pandemic, the intake at the Cyril Potter College of Education moved from 535 to more than 4,000 applications this year.
“So, four years from now when many countries are going to have zero teachers to graduate, because they were not able to admit during COVID, Guyana is going to have five times the number that we usually graduate,” Minister Manickchand pointed out.
The education minister also noted that parental support is also needed to help children succeed academically.
“The one common thread we have seen in our children who perform well, the one common thread would be parents who were supportive. We do need, in this new reimagined system, more parental involvement and there is no way to dress that up, more does not mean a higher quality of educated parent, it means parents not throwing the whole burden of educating their children, onto the education system.”