Ministry starts process to expand Guyana Learning Channel

The Ministry of Education has taken steps to expand the Guyana Learning Channel, and has started to procure infrastructure for the six additional channels.

Minister of Education, Hon Priya Manickchand

In an interview with DPI on Wednesday, Minister Hon. Priya Manickchand said the Ministry is also working to create local content for the channels. The Ministry aims to have programmes with local teachers “teaching and explaining concepts to our children in our accent, with our methods.”

Minister Manickchand explained that “Those six channels are in the process of being procured or built and then we also have the challenge of getting local content because we have not done much of that at all… That’s all being done simultaneously.”

She noted that the pandemic has highlighted the importance of the Learning Channel, particularly in hinterland communities. As such, the Ministry is actively exploring avenues to broaden the reach of educational programmes.

“You also have the issue of the hinterland communities even when we expand, being able to access the kind of service that we would be looking to give, so we’re trying to procure a satellite service for those communities that would have access to this.”

Additionally, the Ministry is exploring delivering educational content in Indigenous languages. In some hinterland communities, there is a language barrier as the first language is not English.

“The younger kids are finding it very difficult to go into the classroom where we are teaching in the English language blindly. They could do a lot better if we have a more versatile system that allows for their teachers to teach in their language and for the text books and the material that their using to be in their language.”

The Ministry is already drafting a project on how this can be implemented effectively.

Meanwhile, the Minister said she has high hopes for the Guyana Learning Channel as it can be a “game changer” for the education sector.

“We all know about the fancy lessons that Grade Six children go to and  very few children can access those lessons because most of them are Georgetown based so definitely, people in the hinterland and outlying communities in other regions are never able to access those. So, we can do a lot of reinforced teaching on the learning channel. We can make it into something that could be dynamic,” she said.

In September, some $200 million was allocated in the 2020 Emergency Budget for the expansion of the Guyana Learning Channel. It targets students from Nursery Year One to Grade Eleven, in keeping with the Government’s vision to utilise technology to boost education delivery.

The Learning Channel forms part of the Educational Sector Strategy Plan (ESSP) to use technology to push distance education countrywide.

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