Children must not be deprived of an opportunity to excel – CEO tells Early Childhood Education Master-trainers

(Georgetown, June 22, 2017) – “Together we can do the extraordinary,” declared the Chief Education Officer, Mr Marcel Hutson at the closing ceremony of a five-day master trainer workshop facilitated by the Guyana Early Childhood Education Project (GECEP).

On Friday last while addressing the Thirty-Eight (38) Early Childhood Educators and District Education Officers gathered at the Regency Hotel, Mr Hutson emphasised that where education delivery is concerned, there is no room for division. He went on to express his belief “that we are in a very good place with respect to getting it right at the most fundamental/basic level and that is at the nursery level.”

The CEO posited that while there are different schools of thought, indicating that children should not go to school at a certain age; he does not subscribe to the notion that children should wait for an extended period before they start to attend school. “I believe that if we catch them in the early stages of their lives we surely will be able to make an impact,” Mr Hutson said.

He further pointed to research that indicates that numeracy skills emerge during infancy and pre-school years when children are exposed to quantitative and spatial relationships in everyday activities.

The CEO recalled that several years ago the Ministry had changed the age for entry into a nursery school to 3 years 6 months and some persons had a difficulty with that. In his defense of that change, Mr Hutson stated that “our children are able to learn at a very tender age, we must not deprive them of making the in-roads we want them to make.”

He also recognised that understanding that early development of numeracy can provide early childhood educators and elementary school teachers with the tools they need to nurture mathematical thinking. “…this workshop was the right thing to do and I am almost sure that out of this workshop we will see changes,” the CEO posited.

“You must break the status quo and you must work in a way that we will see a transformation in our education sector. I believe if we get it right at the most basic level we will make an impact for the better,” he urged.

Mr Hutson indicated that he is hopeful that with the right foundation, the face of education and its delivery can be changed once everyone is committed and dedicated. Teachers were also urged to see the opportunity as more than just another workshop and to create a working community that can bring about positive change.

The objective of the Guyana Early Childhood Education Project is to improve emergent literacy and numeracy outcomes for children at the nursery level and primary grade one in Hinterland Regions and Targeted Remote Riverine Areas.

This is being achieved through strengthening of the capacity and effectiveness of nursery and Grade 1 teachers, providing additional teaching and learning materials to nursery and Grade 1 classes, and reinforcing primary caregiver engagement in children’s early learning. This project is funded by the Global Partnership for Education, managed by the World Bank, and executed by the Ministry of Education.

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