Young writers programme aims to promote creativity & revive writing industry

DPI/GINA, Guyana, Monday, June 26, 2017

Teachers along with students between the ages of 13 and 19 were the target of a Youth Empowerment Programme for Youth Writers aimed at revitalising Guyana’s publishing and writing industry. The programme is being rolled out by the Office of the Presidential Advisor on Youth Empowerment in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.

Programme Director Alisha Layne.

Programme Director Alisha Layne in an exclusive interview with the Department of Public Information/Government Information Agency (DPI/GINA) said that over 260 students have benefitted from the programme. The spread of schools which participated in the programme included fifteen schools from Georgetown, nine from the East Coast, Demerara, six from the East Bank, Demerara and twelve from the West Coast, Demerara.

Layne noted that the students and teachers were taught the art of writing and producing magazine articles. The responses from teachers and more importantly the students were positive, especially from students of those schools from the rural areas, according to Layne.

“The feedback all around have been generally very good, so we are proud of the work that we would have done and we really hope that we can actually complete it in the way that we would want it to be completed, so that these students could have an opportunity upon leaving school to have something to do, (which is) geared towards developing themselves, their communities and each other” Layne explained.

Layne added that, “you have students who are not, I would not want to say very smart but we have those students who academically they do not excel, but artistically they are very, very gifted. There are students who cannot do a math sum to save their life, there are students who cannot understand a simple equation but if you give them a pen and a piece of paper, they can write a piece of poetry, they can create a masterpiece in English and so this project basically is one that the teachers welcome because they can use it to channel those ability in those students”.

However, Layne noted that they were faced with a number of challenges during the course of the programme. One of the main challenges according to Layne, was having teachers and students being released to attend training sessions during school hours.  To address the problem, Layne explained, that they are seeking to have the Ministry of Education adopt the programme so that it will become a timetabled subject.

Layne explained that, “the school term is basically 12 weeks, we can have a successful programme run in eight weeks because the actual contact hours for the training, it takes just about one teaching period and so if we can have it for one period , which is just about 45 minutes of school time. if we can have this done in schools at the individual level for one period per day, maybe  two days per week in each school, then at the end of six  weeks we would have completed the entire young writers manual so that gives them two weeks to complete their articles.”

While the current programme targets mainly schools on the coast, the overall aim is to have it in all the schools country wide, as it is also a programme which is geared at equipping young people with a skill which they can use to create jobs for themselves. The programme was launched in November 2016.

 

By: Isaiah Braithwaite

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