Many persons involved in the Leadership of schools took the time when in Georgetown to visit the Resources Exhibition in NCERD which was opened by the Honourable Minister of Education Shaik Baksh. We must thank, in particular, the Head of the Learning Resource Development Unit of NCERD, Rajwantie Permaul and her team for setting up the exhibition.
In his keynote address, the Minister made a number of important comments. He talked about the expansion of NCERD as a training agency and, in particular a training initiative for all in the education sector which was being prepared to roll out in the next twelve months.
He was particularly clear about the need for senior educational leaders, especially in the Ministry of Education to go into schools on a more regular basis in order to develop the education system. He had been concerned also about the way resources had often not been used and had been locked away in cupboards. He promise action "to unlock the cupboards".
The Chief Education Officer (ag), Genievieve Whyte-Nedd urged teachers to use resources in the classroom as educational tools to promote learning rather tha simply to decorate classrooms.
We can all learn from this. We have been clear in NCERD about the need for a reduction in bureaucracy which will lead to Headteachers and Senior Leaders in schools being able to leave their offices, manage and lead by walking about and, in particular, advise teachers on how to improve the quality of learning and teaching in their classrooms. We will all accept that a good learning environment is paramount in providing the appropriate atmosphere in which children will learn.
The Opening was reported on NCN news and other channels. You will find extracts below, courtesy of GINA. You will note that a new Primary Resource Room was set up in NCERD alongside the existing one for Nursery Schools. This work was done by Ms Florence Sukhdeo (BEAMS Nursery Adsviser) in conjunction with VSO.
"A four- day exhibition on learning resources was declared opened today by Minister of Education Shaik Baksh at the National Centre for Education and Resource Development (NCERD), Kingston as part of the activities for the observance of Education Month under the theme ‘Education of the child: a parent and teacher obligation’.Minister Baksh noted that the Ministry of Education is aiming towards a special programme for continuous professional development of teachers throughout the school system which will be commencing during the latter part of 2009 as it would require preparation and designing.He said that the programme will be in collaboration with the Ministry’s Fast Track Initiative(FTI) programme.
Minister Baksh pointed out that a second new policy decision of the Ministry deals with the setting up of a National Committee for open and distance learning. A consultant has already been identified to develop that policy which will straddle all the sectors of the education system.
The Minister reiterated that government has spent $2.5 billion over the past three years in providing learning resources to the educational sector.He said under the five years of the strategic education plan, there is an aim to have Information Technology taught in 50 percent of the Primary Schools and also in the Secondary and Post- Secondary institutions of Guyana.
Minister Baksh urged that literature should be a compulsory subject for the Science and Business streams at schools to enhance students’ reading ability. He also urged that reading tents should be set up at least once every month in areas across Georgetown and once a month in each Region to encourage reading and learning throughout Guyana.Head of the Learning Resource Development Unit of NCERD, Rajwantie Permaul said that “learning resources are information represented and stored in a variety of medium and format can assist students’ learning as defined by the curricula.” Permaul said that “learning resources are intended for use by teachers, students and parents to foster learning both at school and at home.
Chief Education Officer (ag), Genevieve Whyte-Nedd said that the collaboration of stakeholders is often encouraged but that this year the main focus is on parents. Whyte-Nedd pointed out that the learning resources cut across various subjects but it is important that they are multi-centered.
“This is very important for our teachers and parents since many children do not learn from a single mould. Some learn fast from audio, some from video and others from a combination”, she said.
The exhibition is scheduled to run from today September 9 to September 12 starting from 9:00 am daily at NCERD. It aims to sensitize the public on the type of learning materials available for the teachers and parents to help their children in their pursuit of knowledge towards a career, to expose teachers to the best practices in the classroom, to help teachers and parents to improve their teaching skills at school and home, and to expose teachers to innovative technology that can be used in the classroom to create opportunities."
An example of a classroom display used as a learming tool for story writing