Kaieteur News – Looking to give educators a platform where they can continue their professional development, the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) on Friday launched, for the first time, an Online Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Programme for all teachers.

During a virtual launch, Director of NCERD, Quenita Walrond-Lewis said that the CPD will give teachers at every level:  nursery, primary and secondary, the experience to lean on their autonomy and consider their professional practice. She said that professional development for teachers is necessary.

“It means that you are continually giving yourself opportunities to improve your practice over time. Anyone and everyone regardless of your experience in the education system, whether you’ve just joined the profession or you’ve been in the profession for 30 years can benefit from continuous professional development,” Ms. Walrond-Lewis noted.

According to her in developing this programme, the team at NCERD underwent six months of intense training and preparation to be able to bring the courses to teachers. She said that the team had to undergo training in learning design and instructional design.

Walrond –Lewis said too that the instructors learned how to technically operate within the Moodle space as well as think about the end user, and teachers, and how they could design course offerings that are engaging and interactive.

The Director said that the programme is very flexible, teachers can learn at their own pace, whether it is after work or on the weekend.

Speaking briefly about the programme, Design Consultant of the CPD, Dr. Schontal Moore said that she was able to help the team at NCERD develop, design and deliver courses. She said this process took six months of continuous work in a purely online environment addressing how to convert a course from a face-to-face modality to be delivered online.

She said that each officer had to analyze their course in terms of how to convert the materials for effective online delivery before they began the design and development of the actual online course. At the end of the six months, 24 courses were developed.

Chief Education Officer (CEO), Saddam Hussain, in his remarks stated that the start of the CPD is a historical moment in the Education System in Guyana and it is something that had been 12 years in the making. He said that the Ministry will be partnering with the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) so that the CPD can benefit every teacher.

According to him, in the new week, the Education Systems Committee will meet and decide on several matters as it relates to the CPD. He said that the Ministry hopes to connect the CPD to the senior promotion system, the issuance of permanent certificates from CPCE and to use the CPD as a pathway for crediting the master teacher process.

The CEO also urged all mathematics teachers at the secondary level to enroll in the Secondary Teachers of Math Upgrading Programme on the CPD platform. He said that teachers should complete this course by May of this year.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Office – Guyana, Dr. Olato Sam said that “We embrace the idea that teachers upon exiting CPCE and completing their initial training are not trained for life. And so, continuous professional development provides the wherewithal for them to expand their scope, on their skills, and recognize and incorporate more contemporary ideas, concepts, and approaches to their pedagogy and development as educators.”

Expressing gratitude to NECERD, Deputy General Secretary of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU), Heathcliff Peters, encouraged teachers to take advantage of the opportunities provided by NCERD. Peters, who has already registered for the programme, concluded that the GTU intends to promote the CPD and encourage all teachers to enroll in the CPD to upgrade themselves through the online platform.

Teachers can register via the link to join the programme https://forms.gle/K7B6VPA7FAideeu27