As an immediate intervention plan, on Thursday hundreds of parents and teachers from the Essequibo Coast were the first to be better informed about the Education Ministry’s Emergency Mathematics Intervention. The intervention that is being rolled out nationwide is pegged at $400M.
On the front-burner was on Thursday taken to the Essequibo Coast where senior education officials interacted with parents on the role they play to ensure their children improve on their mathematics comprehension and application.
This engagement took the form of three cluster meetings with parents of students who attend the Charity, 8th of May, Better Hope, Sparta, CV Nunes, Hamption Court, Queenstown, Taymouth Manor and Fisher Primary schools.
The officials from the Ministry of Education included the Chief Education Officer, Mr. Marcel Hutson; ACEO-Primary, Mr. Owen Pollard and Director of NCERD, Mrs. Jennifer Cumberbatch. They were joined by the Regional Education Officer of Region 2 - Mrs. Baramadai Seepersaud.
The CEO in his discourse highlighted that the situation with Maths has gained the attention of the President and his Cabinet. Following several engagements with the Cabinet a theory of change had to be developed hence the Emergency Mathematics Intervention.
Since the commencement of the initiative over 1000 Grades 5 and 6 teachers were enriched. Specific training was done in content and methodology. “The idea is for teachers to be innovative, creative and energetic,” he said.
To support and give oversight to the teachers, the Ministry has employed 11 coordinators and 46 monitors nationwide.
CEO, Hutson issued a resounding call for more attention to be placed on education at the regional level since without such the other departments cannot operate effectively. He added that the success of this initiative is not an isolated one but is a collaborative effort.
“Our children must never be abandoned,” he declared.
Mr. Pollard assured that the sensitization sessions do not intend to cast blame on anyone but to give support to the parents, teachers and education officers.
The ACEO in emphasizing the importance of this initiative recognized that in the past the results were not heartening, however, change can be achieved.
Mr. Pollard highlighted that parents must work with their children since research has shown that parents who work with their children succeed.
Mrs. Cumberbatch, who has responsibility for Strategy 6 (Public Relation/Parental Involvement Strategy) in the intervention, emphasized that the parents need to play a more active role in the process. In this regard, she pointed out several things they can do to support their children; this include attending PTA meetings, checking their children’s books, assisting with homework and visiting the school regularly.
She illustrated that parents can also engage their children in household activities that have mathematical elements such as measurements. “Children learn best by doing,” she noted.
Mrs. Cumberbatch told the parents about the jingles that are being broadcast on the radio stations and the tips that are being published in the newspapers. These mechanisms are intended to get the parents more involved.
With regard to the mock exams being administered, Mrs. Cumberbatch stated that “the exam gives each child a fighting chance to do well. She further explained that the mock exam gives the children sitting the 2017 NGSA exam in April a look at the format of the exam.
This is the first in a series of planned regional engagements with parents and teachers of Grade 6 students towards improving student performance in Mathematics.