Dietary Assistant Programme launched …as Carnegie celebrates 85th Anniversary

(April 17, 2018) –  The Carnegie School of Home Economics (CSHE) has added a new programme to those offered by the institution. This is being done as the school is celebrating 85 years of offering quality education to Guyanese.

It is the Nutrition for Dietary Assistant Programme. According to Principal (ag) Ms. Myrna Lee, the initiative to offer the programme at Carnegie was the brainchild of outgoing Principal, Ms. Penelope Harris.

From right: Outgoing Principal of CSHE, Ms. Penelope Harris, Director (ag) of CTVET, Mr. Jerry Simpson, Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings and Coordinator of the USC, Ms. Mignon Maynard-Sancho.

Ms. Harris gave an overview of the programme at today’s launch in the compound of the school in the presence of students, lecturers, board members and the Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings.

According to Ms. Harris, the launch of the programme is aimed at creating a skilled labour force that will meet the local demand for Dietary Assistants. The programme, which spans two years, will require student participation in training in the areas of Food Safety and Hygiene, Basic Nutrition, Meal Management and Catering, Nutrition in Life Cycle, Food Service Management and General Education among other courses.

She said that at the end of the programme, graduates will obtain a diploma that will allow them to further their studies to the degree level at a university. Further, she said that the diploma will qualify them to work in the kitchens of hospitals, hospices, colleges, universities and universities.

“Dietary Assistants will be employed at local hospitals to oversee the preparation of meals for patients in accordance with the direction of a qualified dietitian or nutritionist. They are also involved in educating clients on their nutritional requirements”, Ms. Harris said.

Further, she said that the entry level requirements for the programme are: Four CSEC subjects with grades one to four inclusive of Mathematics, English, Food and Nutrition and one science subject; OR Persons over 25 years with experience working in the fields who need to be certified; OR successful completion of the one-year Household Management course; OR a CVQ Level one in Commercial Food Preparation.

The next batch of students for the programme will be for September 2019.

Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings.

Meanwhile, in her feature address, the Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings, said that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a healthy diet prevents against malnutrition and non-communicable diseases. She said that among the top 10 non-communicable diseases that affect Guyanese are diabetes, hypertension and heart failure.

Minister Cummings explained that the prevalence of these diseases is partially related to nutrition. She said that the CSHE has recognised the lack of dietary professionals and highlighted that graduates of the programme will be able to work along with registered dieticians.

Further, she said that her Ministry acknowledges that good nutrition is important for healthy lifestyle. Minister Cummings added that healthy people are more productive and are important to the further development of Guyana.

Also blessing the initiative was Director (ag) of the Council for Technical Vocational Education and Training (CTVET), Mr. Jerry Simpson. He said that CTVET is responsible for programmes that are offered in post-secondary institutions. He said that he hopes the programme will be tabled shortly to be awarded a Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ). Mr. Simpson committed CTVET’s willingness to obtain the services of an external verifier to assess the new programme and congratulated the CSHE on making such a bold step.

Outgoing Principal of CSHE, Ms. Penelope Harris.

Outside of launching this dynamic new programme, the CSHE also launched the “Water Day-Wednesday”. This was done with the hope of creating a new healthy trend among Guyanese by encouraging them to choose water as their preferred beverage every Wednesday.

Ms. Gillian Trim from the Food Policy Division within the Ministry of Public Health encouraged those in attendance to take up the challenge by highlighting several benefits of drinking water; these include weigh loss, flushing of toxins, headache remedy and improved physical performance.

The importance of water in one’s diet was further emphasized by a skit performed by students of the CSHE and Ms. Radha Singh. Among other presentations was a promotional talk from Ms. Mignon Maynard-Sancho, Coordinator of the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC). She said that the USC remains committed to being a partner of the CSHE in terms of offering higher qualification programmes.


Students at today’s launch.