To focus on early childhood education is the smartest investment a government can make – Dr Nicolette Henry
(November 22, 2018) – The Ministry of Education (MoE) in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) launched a National Sensitization workshop for Early Childhood (EC) Development.
The two-day workshop commenced today at Parc Rayne on the East Bank of Demerara and targets education officials from across the country who will be introduced to the Early Childhood ‘Good Practice Guide’ that is currently being circulated in countries across the region.
In delivering the keynote address, Minister of Education Dr. the Hon. Nicolette Henry reminded the workshop of the importance of such an exercise. The Education Minister said that such capacity building ventures will improve performance and will enhance the country’s abilities to function, adequately in the education sphere.
Further Minister Henry believes that the workshop will ensure that Guyana stays relevant within the context of a continually changing and evolving education system.
Additionally, Dr Henry quipped that the importance of investments in education at an early stage cannot be overemphasised. “The knowledge, skills, and practices of early childhood are important factors in determining how much a child learns and how prepared that child is”. Minister Henry told the gathering that she is aware that educators are being asked to have a complex understanding of early childhood development.
Notwithstanding those expectations, Minister Henry said the extensive and detailed process undertaken by the stakeholders to develop the good practice guide is important in offering research directions to assist educators in framing the most suitable methodology in content delivery.
Chief Education Officer Mr Marcel Hutson in his address to the workshop said that if the guide is used properly by educators and policymakers it stands to transform the education sector. Added to that, the CEO said that educators should set standards that children will be desirous of emulating and that the guide under consideration will aid this process.
Mr Hutson also reminded the educators of the impact they can have on children’s’ lives and advocated that educators be creators and facilitators of learning and not mere teachers.
The workshop is being conducted by Ms Sian Williams of Jamaica and Mr Leon Charles of Grenada, two leading EC Development specialist from the region.
The workshop is intended to develop an understanding of the specific principles that have to be addressed in programming for each of the areas of good practice covered by the guide.
Additionally, the workshop is intended to explore how principles can be applied to the specific national setting, including discussion on whether the applications in the guide are appropriate for Guyana’s context.