MOE takes Town Hall meeting to Berbice

DPI, GUYANA, Monday, November 20, 2017

The Ministry of Education today continued its parent-teacher Town Hall meeting, at the Berbice High School in New Amsterdam, Region Six. The meetings are being held as part of the process to reform Guyana’s education system, towards the goal of improving relations between teachers and parents to ensure the delivery of quality education across the nation.

Minister of Education Nicolette Henry addressing parents and teachers at the Town Hall meeting in New Amsterdam Berbice.

The meeting was the third of its kind and saw a massive turnout from both parents and teachers who were given the opportunity to voice concerns and suggest recommendations.

Minister of Education Nicolette Henry addressing the gathering remarked that it is only through the collaboration of parents and teachers that the improvements in the education sector will be realised.

She said it was a positive sign to witness the interaction between education officials and parents at the Town Hall.

“I am happy for the questions that were raised. I recognise that you have to start some place and that the longest journeys started with a single step. The fact that you are here, and that I am here and I am able to hear, is in itself an opportunity and is rewarding to some extent” the Minister explained.

Minister Henry further urged both parents and teacher to “use this opportunity for our children. Our children are first and foremost… (on) the agenda in terms of education, there are areas we have to improve. It is not an option, it is a must, so let us work together.”

Among the issues highlighted were the need for more trained teachers, better environment for students and the need to discontinue automatic promotions of students, among others.

A parent raising an issue at the Town Hall meeting in New Amsterdam Berbice.

Parent Teachers Association Coordinator, Nadia Hollingsworth in addressing the insufficiency of trained teachers, revealed that more than 75 percent of teachers currently working in the education system are trained. She explained that it is impossible at present to have trained teachers in all the schools.

Hollingsworth, however, disclosed that there are over 1,500 applications from teachers who have expressed an interest in further training. Notwithstanding that, the coordinator noted that not all applicants will be trained at once; they will be selected as the need arises in a specific subject area. Nevertheless, Hollingsworth said the Ministry’s long-term goal is to ensure that every teacher assigned to a school has received the necessary training.

With that being said, Hollingsworth urged parents to play a more integral role in their children’s education reminding that a child’s first teacher are its parents.

Additionally, the ‘no child left behind’ policy according to Hollingsworth is an issue that has been in limbo for a number of years. She explained that while some parents have no objections to the strategy, others are against it. Parents were advised by the PTA Coordinator to visit their children’s school and address the issue with the respective head teachers.

Parents were also given the opportunity to discuss other issues with the Chief Schools’ Welfare Officer, Ministry of Education, Gillian Vyphuis as well as representatives of the Child Protection Agency.

 

By: Isaiah Braithwaite

 

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