Bilingual Project in Aishalton benefitting both children and teachers – Project Coordinator

─ research team presently developing the nursery year 2 curriculum

─ project to be extended up to Grades 3

DPI, Guyana, Monday, January 21, 2019

The Quality Bilingual Education Programme for Wapichan children since its establishment has seen both teachers and children being able to communicate better in schools. Project Coordinator, Sylvanius Perry explained that children are learning concepts faster than they were before.

Sylvanius was at the time speaking at the launch of the International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019, under the theme “Indigenous Languages are important for Sustainable Development, Peace Building and Reconciliation”, which was held in Aishalton, South Rupununi.

Project Coordinator, Sylvanius Perry.

The Project Coordinator opened his remarks with the statement “It is my pleasure to update you about quality bilingual education for Wapichan children.” in his native Wapichan language. He noted that this is an ongoing project that had started in the 1980s.

In 2000, the Wapichan Literacy Programme developed a proposal and presented it to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Amazon Programme to restart the Wapichan reading programme. Sylvanius explained that approval was granted from the Ministry of Education with one condition, that the programme would cause minimal disruption to the school’s curriculum. The programme was shelved in 2002.

After the restart of the Quality Bilingual Education Programme for Wapichan in September 2018, the Coordinator highlighted that this was a step forward for the bilingual programme and noted also that the programme will allow the Indigenous children to be educated in both English and their native language, thereby preserving the Indigenous culture.

At the start of the new term in September 2018, he said that “the quality bilingual education programme for Wapichan children was established in Aishalton.” Presently, Sylvanius pointed out, “both English and Wapichan are being taught at the nursery level and it is the aim of the programme to be extended to Grades One through Three.”

The Coordinator also stated that a research team is in Aishalton working on creating a Nursery Year 2 curriculum.

After the official launch in July 2018, several nursery rhymes and children’s stories, have been translated in both English Language and Wapichan and have been reviewed by the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD). Aishalton is among several villages spanning Guyana’s hinterland regions, where English is not the first language. This has been creating a challenge in effectively educating the children.

Rebecca Ganesh.

Images: Keno George.

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