MoE’s Learning Channel launches ‘Whiz Kids’ for Grade Six students

‘Mathlete’ and Spelling Bee competitions coming soon

The Ministry of Education’s Guyana Learning Channel officially launched its ‘Whiz Kids’ Game Show today at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD).

Head of Distance Learning – Ms. Anieshaw Mohamed said that the idea behind the competition was birthed after observing the Honourable Minister of Education Priya Manickchand having her own rapid-fire question and answer time with her niece.

The Honourable Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand delivering remarks

She said following that encounter, the game show was developed further and has become a hit with a growing audience. According to Ms. Mohamed, the Guyana Learning Channel will not stop at Whiz Kids but has plans of launching ‘Mathletes’ and a Spelling Bee competition soon to engage more students to give them that experience to feel great about themselves.

The game show features Grade Six students from various primary schools competing against each other by answering questions in four categories (mathematics, English language, science and social studies). Thus far there are two finalists and the grand finale will be on July 28, 2021.

Minister of Education Priya Manickchand speaking to Grade Six students at today’s launch

Minister Manickchand said today that she has fallen in love with the show and has watched every episode since its commencement. Whiz Kids is aired on Wednesdays and Fridays at 19:00h (7:00pm) on the Guyana Learning Channel (GLC), its Facebook page and is available on the GLC’s YouTube channel.

The Education Minister noted that the past year has not been easy for students, parents and teachers. She said that the country has found it difficult to cope with COVID-19, floods and a long election process.

Head of Distance Learning, Ms. Anieshaw Mohamed delivering remarks

However, she acknowledged that Guyana has not been alone and that the world has found it difficult to cope in the education and health sectors.

She said that the new programs and initiatives launched by the Ministry such as the NGSA Booster Programme, the Quiz Me platform, the printing of worksheets and the creation and distribution of study packages were done quickly and under immense pressure. She said that though tragedies and interruptions occur naturally, how we respond makes the difference.

Speaking to Grade Six students, Minister Manickchand said, “You have to rise up. You have to face it and you have to overcome it. So, whenever you meet a challenge in your life, remember this lesson that you can rise up, you can face it and you can overcome it. That’s what we tried to do with these programmes.”

One of the Whiz Kids finalists, Justin Goberdhan of Mae’s Schools sharing about his experience

Moreover, Minister Manickchand said that despite the provision of these programmes and resources. The Public School system has to improve on the outcomes produced.

She said that teachers need to get on board and allow themselves to be assessed, evaluated and assisted to do better.

Further, Minister Manickchand said that the role of parents in their child’s education cannot be overstated. She said the Ministry just completed the first NGSA mock examination and unfortunately many parents have not asked how their children performed.

“You have to be interested in what your children are doing. The Ministry of Education alone cannot do that,” She said while adding that there are too many teachers who have not yet looked and analysed the results to determine where their students are weak. “We cannot continue like this. We have to do it with a view of getting better results,” Minister Manickchand stated.

She said that the only way changes can be seen in the education sector is when all stakeholders work together. “There will be no space in the sector for laziness; from parents, from teachers, from education officers. We have to change that, it is the only way all these programmes will make a difference.”

Minister of Education Priya Manickchand with contestants and finalists of the Whiz Kids game show

Grade Six students are scheduled to write their second mock examination in July. Minister Manickchand said that this will be done under strict examination conditions and she hopes more students can write the examination in school for a fair experience.

With 39 days left for the official NGSA, Minister Manickchand said that the Ministry will keep systems stable to ensure a smooth sitting of the examination which is being managed by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC). 

At the launch, Malachi Seales of North Georgetown Primary School, a Grade Six student and a Whiz Kids finalist said that being on the show has been beneficial to him since he learnt new things whenever he got a question wrong or was corrected by a fellow contestant. Further, he said that the NGSA Booster Programme has helped him by learning new ways to work mathematical equations he thought were difficult and that the other topics he had difficulties with have now become easy.

On the Ministry’s Quiz Me Platform, he reported that it has assisted him by allowing him to get much needed practise with his weak areas. Meanwhile, Grade Six student Justin Goberdhan of Mae’s Schools said that the competition has been tough during the pandemic but it has been helpful since he is able to learn whether he gets the question wrong or right. He also thanked the Ministry of Education for its assistance by providing the necessary resources to prepare for his examination.