EARLIER this year, the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE), the country’s only teachers training college, made a big step in going online; this not only instantly expanded the institution’s intake ability, but it also created many opportunities for persons who would have otherwise had difficulty with attending in-person classes.


19-year-old Kuvraj Lall from Port Kaituma Secondary

19-year-old Kuvraj Lall from Port Kaituma Secondary

This is particularly true for several individuals from many communities in Guyana’s interior regions. Teachers would have otherwise usually had to travel to the city to attend classes or are offered limited programmes at distance-teaching centres.

“With this opportunity of doing it online comes as an ease, because if I didn’t have the online aspect, I think I would’ve had to wait a little longer to do this programme,” said 28-year-old Michelle Joseph, a teacher at the Mahdia Nursery School in Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni).

Joseph is a first-year student studying for an Associate Degree in Education (ADE majoring in Early childhood education.

“I can access it in my own space and time, and sometimes I may not be able to join the class because I’m in school and have school activity, because I’m an in-service teacher. So it’s convenient in terms of time. I can do the classes in my own time,” she said.

Joseph has been a teacher for the past five years, a career to which she has aspired ever since she was a child. She is motivated by her love for her schoolchildren.

“The fact that when I teach the children, and at the end of the two years, I will send off these children knowing that they learn something, that has always been something good for me,” she shares.

And it is her love for her students that motivates her all the more to want to become a trained teacher.

“As an untrained teacher, I think I limit my children. If I’m trained, I will expose my children to a bit more. Because I would gain more knowledge on how to approach teaching them,” she relates.

CPCE offers teacher-training programmes for persons who are desirous of pursuing careers in teaching. The programmes include a two-year ADE, with specialisations in early childhood, primary or secondary education; a three-year Trained Teacher’s Certificate; and a one-year ADE.


The Cyril Potter College of Education

Programmes at the college are government-funded, with the students who would have completed their studies at the college being expected to serve the government for a specified contracted period at an assigned public school.

Joseph is one of many hinterland teachers who can now upgrade to doing the ADE programme while remaining in their communities, as opposed to previously, when the majority of hinterland teachers were only offered the lesser Trained Teachers Certificate (TTC) in the locales.

With the ADE, when completed, the teachers can move on to studying for their degrees at the university, and this is a dream come through for 19-year-old Kuvraj Lall.

A Mathematics teacher at the Port Kaituma Secondary school in Region One, Lall is also currently studying for his ADE with a major in Mathematics.

“I am striving for my master’s, so this is an important starting point for me,” Lall shared in a recent interview with the Guyana Chronicle.

“From my perspective, being a trained teacher means I’ll be more experienced and have more knowledge in the profession and I’ll know more strategies and know-how to better be able to put over my concepts and so forth,” Lall added.

CPCE going online has also made it possible for Lall and several teachers from his school to access the training they need. According to Lall, some six teachers from his school are currently attending CPCE, a marked increase in teachers in the school furthering their education.

This, he posited, was made possible mainly due to the availability of the CPCE classes online.

“It’s better and it’s awesome because I can complete my training and it’s going to assist me in terms of furthering my studies and developing and upgrading myself throughout the years. It has its pros and cons, mostly pros, though it has been fairly good,” he said.

Some $500M was budgeted in the 2022 national budget to enhance the capacity of the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) to go entirely online with its teachers’ training programme.

This ties into the Ministry of Education’s (MoE) plans to see 100 percent of public school teachers trained by 2025. This is a further part to the ministry’s overall plans to overhaul and upgrade the local public education sector, as the country places increased emphasis on human resource development to match the growing development in the economy.