Senior Education Officials visit Region One
-This is proof that Guyana is moving forward -Barima-Waini residents
-Community Library on the cards
The days of Region One lagging in the education delivery process will soon be an issue of the past after much-needed community collaboration and intervention by the Ministry of Education.
Through a collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the Regional Democratic Council, on Monday a team of Education officials led by Chief Education Officer (CEO) Mr Marcel Hutson engaged members of the Whitewater community in Region One (Barima Waini) with a view of hearing and addressing their concerns. The meeting that was held at the Whitewater Community Centre yielded much information that will inform decisions at the Ministry and Regional levels towards addressing their concerns.
During the interface, CEO Hutson encouraged a more collaborative approach to addressing matters towards an improvement of education delivery in the community. “There is the need for a more hands-on approach to the supervision and management of the Whitewater Primary School,” Hutson opined. A directive was given that a technical expert should as a priority visit the Whitewater School to speedily correct the supply woes to address the electrical issues and by extension enable the students to benefit from the computers that are available. “Very soon efforts will be afoot to have the annex gazetted and be made into an official school with a headteacher.”
Further, Assistant Chief Education Officer (Technical) Mr Patrick Onwuzirike informed the gathering that plans are in train to introduce the Secondary Competency Certificate Programmes (SCCP) at the Wauna Primary top School. This is part of efforts to have the children leave the school with a technical certificate that affords them the opportunity for meaningful employment in Guyana or anywhere in the Caribbean and to also pursue further education. “We want to encourage parents to consider the fact that while you might not have major qualifications your community must make sure that as parents you should demand a certain level of excellence from the school system and do your part as a key stakeholder,” CEO Hutson admonished.
Further, he said, “We all have the same brain and we all need to empower each other to build the community and safeguard the resources and facilities. The idea of us coming here was to not just see problems but to fashion workable solutions. The engagement was also to assure residents that education could be delivered in the best possible way.
“I must applaud the government for taking the bold step to have an entire team here…it is historical. This move shows that the Government of Guyana (GoG) has the best interest of all the peoples of Guyana including us in the Hinterland at heart…to me this is proof that Guyana is moving forward,” Mr Errol Lucian, one participant of the Town Hall meeting held in the Whitewater Multi-Purpose Hall.
While noting the need for textbooks participants posited that the biggest problem is the need for parents to work with the teachers to move the nation forward through education. The importance for parents to work with the teachers was underscored as well.
Further, the CEO noted that the Regional Education Officer Mr Nigel Richards has been mandated to prepare a list of the needed textbooks so that these shortages can be addressed in two weeks’ time.
To rousing applause CEO Hutson promised that as long as they are available the necessary textbooks will soon be delivered to the community for the school use.
Plans are afoot for the Parent Teachers Association Coordinator Nadia Hollingsworth and other education officials to conduct Townhall meetings to engage with parents. The issues include limited textbooks, addressing the fixing of the solar power panel to get electricity for full use of the computers. Other findings and recommendations with timelines are to be compiled for necessary action.
A feedback meeting was also held with teachers of Whitewater Primary School and a request from a parent was for the establishment of a community library for which Ms Jennifer Cumberbatch the Director of NCERD promised some assistance through a donation of books by Month end.
The high-level team of MoE officials currently visiting the Hinterland community is being led by CEO Mr Marcel Hutson and comprises of three Assistant Chief Education Officers Mr Owen Pollard, Ms Carol Benn and Mr Patrick Onwuzirike from the primary, secondary and technical divisions of the MoE. Also, on the team is Senior Welfare Officer Mr Vickram Mohabir, along with Parent Teachers Association Coordinator Ms Nadia Hollingsworth. There is also a representative from the Monitoring, Evaluation Technical Support Unit Mr Nashrullah Khan, Civil Engineer Shaunette Braithwaite of the MOE Buildings Unit and two Technical Facilitators of the CEO Ms Franseca Vieira and Ms Simone Wills.
(Mondale Smith in Whitewater Mabaruma)