Further efforts are being made to strengthen bilateral relationship between Guyana and France via the education sector.
(March 26, 2018) – Today, during their first interface, Hon. Nicolette Henry, Minister of Education and His Excellency Mr. Antoine Joly, Ambassador of the French Republic discussed what could be done to improve and increase the teaching of French in schools with a view of the possibilities of exchanges for students and teachers between the two nations.
Also discussed was the possibility of cooperation between France and Guyana to “See if we could have Guyanese teachers go to France to teach while improving their knowledge of French especially since Haiti is a member of CARICOM, according to the Ambassador.
He added, “It is my hope and plans to have Guyana send assistant teachers to teach English and at the same time improve their interest in French through government relations.”
There were also expressions for education to be further improved at the tertiary level to have the French Guyana University and the University of Guyana work together.
Minister Henry in response dubbed the proposals as good and useful opportunities to build capacity to teach and learn French. Minister Henry also noted that at her level she will encourage and support the implementation at the opportune time.
Further, Minister Henry said that her ministry is interested in the exchange programmes for six months for teachers and will work on all other possibilities for education development of teachers and students towards a more balanced society.
Noting the already ‘in action’ Students Exchange Programmes, Minister Henry informed that French and other foreign languages are taught in some secondary schools and that she encourages and supports the exchange programmes which she says are ideal for gaining “experience and exposure”.
France is also looking for opportunities to improve the way English is being taught in their school system and the Ambassador was adamant that Guyana is as good an English-speaking territory as any other to field teachers to teach English.
At the University of Guyana level, the Minister while noting that the institution is a semi-autonomous body, floated the idea of a department of French that would be useful. On this subject, however, Minister Henry noted that she would be happy to advocate and promote the idea to the University of Guyana executives for consideration.
During the meeting, there was also some talk about funding to support other education-related programmes. In the public-school system teaching of French as a subject begins from the grade seven level.
Minister Henry also informed that she will have the Chief Education Officer, Mr. Marcel Hutson work as the point of contact for the Ministry of Education to work out the modalities.
Ambassador Joly said that French Guyana President Rodolphe Alexander has much interest in Guyana and as such he (ambassador) pledged to work with French Guyana authorities to make bilateral relationships possible for an improved education sector among others.
The French Guyana President has also signalled interest in an interface with the Guyana Government via an official visit later this year. Minister Henry also expressed pleasure at the proposed visit and stands ready to interface with the French President to ensure that discussions are had on a commonly agreed path for education development.
The importance of the youth population understanding the Guyana shield was also a matter discussed as it relates to sustainability and opportunities for exchange programmes for cultures, tolerances and climate change, environment and education-related interfaces for present and future development.
Minister Henry also spoke of the ongoing education efforts for the promotion of the greening of the Guyana environment on the Guyana shield through student exchanges.