Investing in Guyana’s Future: Prime Minister Phillips emphasises importance of qualified teachers

In his address to 1,796 newly trained teachers, Acting President and Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips underscored the government’s unwavering commitment to fostering a dedicated, qualified, and passionate cadre of educators.

He emphasised that these teachers are the cornerstone of Guyana’s education system and play a pivotal role in shaping the minds of the nation’s youth.

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d), Mark Phillips during remarks at CPCE’s 89th graduation

Addressing the graduates at Cyril Potter College of Education’s (CPCE) 89th graduation ceremony at the National Stadium, Providence, Prime Minister Phillips commended their unwavering dedication to pursuing higher education, recognising the profound impact they will have on the lives of their students.

He stressed that their commitment to excellence in teaching will be instrumental in achieving Guyana’s education goals.

“Your choice to enter this new profession is the testament to your belief in the power of education to transform lives. Your impact is significant in developing countries. Your roles as teachers are crucial to shaping our future,” the prime minister said.

Government remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering quality education by investing in tangible initiatives including improving educational facilities, expanding the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in education, enhancing TVET facilities, and increasing scholarship opportunities, among others. 

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d), Mark Phillips presenting a prize to one of the best graduating students

“However, at the heart of our strategy is recognising that the key to achieving these goals lies in having a dedicated, qualified and passionate cadre of teachers…We believe that meaningful incentives and proper remuneration are essential to recognising the important contributions of our educators in molding the minds of our youths,” PM Phillips underlined.

He also charged the new batch of trained teachers to continue to pursue advanced academic endeavours, as they have a role in nurturing the growth of young minds, while contributing to the ongoing transformation of the education system.

As you embark on this journey as educators, I encourage each of you to continue to aspire for higher academic pursuits. Just as you impart knowledge to your students…May you never stop in your pursuit of knowledge for yourselves. Education is a lifelong journey. And by continuing to learn and grow, you set an example for your students and contribute to ongoing improvement of our education system.”

Teachers also advocate for educational policies and reforms that promote equity and access quality education for all. These policies and reforms help to address specific needs of communities which contribute to the overall development of the country.

The prime minister added that more men are needed in the education system, as only 13 per cent of the graduating batch are men.  

Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand

Meanwhile, Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand highlighted that Wednesday’s significant graduation is a result of the ministry’s strategic interventions and investments to have more trained teachers in Guyana.

In the history of the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE), the largest cohort of trained teachers have graduated from the institution in several disciplines. 

This includes 477 early childhood teachers, 841 primary teachers, 238 secondary teachers, and 240 technical vocational education and training (TVET) teachers. 

Some 86 teachers have graduated with distinctions, 1,681 with credit and 29 with pass. 

A total of 66 persons have graduated under the trained teachers’ certificate programme, while 1,730 have graduated under the Associate Degree Programme.

More than 20 per cent of teachers have graduated from the hinterland and riverine communities, 35 per cent from Region Four, 11 per cent from Region Ten, 14 per cent from Region Three, and 12 per cent from Regions Two and Six.

Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand presenting a trophy to one of the best graduating students

As of October 31, 2023, 13,601 public school teachers existed in the country, while 8,941 were trained public school teachers which is 65.8 per cent of the teachers in the classrooms trained, the minister said.

“Today we are adding 1,796 teachers…as of tomorrow in our classrooms, 79 per cent of our teachers will be trained…tomorrow, 99 per cent of our teachers standing before desks and benches occupied with Gayana’s children will be teachers who are trained or in training. This is the first we have ever done for this country,” Minister Manickchand pointed out.

Chief Education Officer, Saddam Hussain, Deputy Chief Education Officer (DCEO) with responsibility for Amerindian and Hinterland Education Development, Marti DeSouza, DCEO (Technical), Dr Ritesh Tularam, Principal of CPCE, Noella Joseph, and other officials and education officers were also in attendance.