Education Ministry to provide lessons via Learning Channel
-worksheets to be shared in distant regions this weekend
Minister of Education, the Hon. Priya Manickchand has announced that the Guyana Learning Channel will soon broadcast local content and lectures to students, and plans are in train to distribute worksheets to far-flung areas this weekend.
This is one of the many initiatives that the Minister has undertaken to improve the delivery of education amidst the COVID-19 pandemic since taking office.
“We (ministry) know that it (Guyana Learning Channel) does not reach everybody, so we also have the radio which has instructions but we know radio and TV does not reach everyone so we have print materials. We did not have any print materials for this term when I came into the Ministry and so that has been the challenge,” Minister Manickchand said.
Steps to provide learning materials were ramped up and a decision taken to print worksheets for students on news print after the Ministry encountered challenges printing them in quantities and with the quality it had initially wanted.
The Minister explained that although staff worked assiduously to create the worksheets, the printers attached to the Ministry indicated that it would take at least six weeks for them to fulfil the order. This meant that young children who are unable to access the internet, television or even radio would fall way behind their counterparts who have such amenities.
“We did not think this was acceptable and so we decided to use the various newspapers to print on newsprint. Though it is not our preferred choice of paper, we would be able to put this in the hands of our children right now. We choose to use the newsprint and we will begin that distribution, we are receiving and packing it now as we speak and that will go out this weekend,” Minister Manickchand said.
The distribution will be done in Region One (Barima-Waini) and Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) today and tomorrow, respectively. This will be followed by distribution in outlying communities like schools in the Berbice River.
The Education Minister pointed out that there are schools that are using the internet and teaching on platforms like ZOOM and Google Classroom. As a step further to deliver education, teachers have also provided lessons on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
While these steps indicate the advances the Ministry has made to deliver learning during this period, there are still challenges in ensuring that it is equitable.
“This pandemic has brought out not only weaknesses in the system and capacity to deliver what we need to, so we hope to create a system going forward with this experience in mind that can resist this kind of shock if they should come again. So, we have to have a bank of information. We should not be writing anything; these documents should have been in place since March,” she explained.
To rectify this, the Ministry will soon distribute ‘Month One’ and as the month progresses, the module for Month Two will be written to close the gap, she said.
“We cannot throw up our arms and do nothing because studies around the world are suggesting that learning loss is a real possibility not only in Guyana, but around the world and we want to minimise as much as we can. We would not be able to measure the damage unless we conduct exams,” the Minister said.
The Minister urged parents to take charge of their children’s learning at home.