Senior Ministry of Education (MoE) Officers from across the country are participating in a three-day consultative workshop to develop a framework for the revision of the school curriculum, an undertaking that has not been done since 1976.
The workshop which commenced today and runs until Friday at the Ramada Hotel is being spearheaded by a visiting consultancy team from Mind Bloom and St. Francis Xavier University.
Addressing the officers at the opening of the workshop, Minister of Education Hon Nicolette Henry said that the occasion is significant since the officers were assembled to develop a well-thought-out, modern school curriculum that will cater to the global changes and tailored towards students peculiar experiences.
Minister Henry said the framing of such a document is central to the running of any school, and this is the type of activity that ensures our citizens receive a sound education that is fundamental to the good life we so often speak about.
The Education Minister explained that a robust education is the single most important development pathway through which Guyana can secure health, industry, commerce, and civility.
The Minister told the gathering that this year she took a policy decision to leapfrog Guyana’s education system and towards this end she instructed that at least 30 percent of programmes budgeted for should reflect Information Communication Technology (ICT) and modern thinking that is new and different.
Minister Henry said one of the major challenge facing the global education community is the education paradox of our time and the curriculum review is how to address simultaneously the skills inequality and uncertainty.
Further, the Education Minister quipped that for 21st-century existence young people need more than traditional skills, such as literacy and numeracy. These must be complemented with skills such as collaboration, problem-solving, and creativity.
Further Minister Henry said 21st-century Guyanese citizen, will in large part, be crafted and honed in the nursery, primary, and secondary schools as children discover and explore their competencies, skills, talents, and desires. “Our schools should create fertile environments where ideas can be tested, critical understandings developed, questioning is encouraged, learning occurs utilizing all the senses, an imaginations are allowed to soar”.
Added to that Minister Henry is of the view that a robust curriculum is one that does not operate in content silos, but one that highlights and encourages subject integration.
Also addressing the workshop was Chief Education Officer (CEO) Mr Marcel Hutson who said that there is a need for change in relation to the curriculum if Guyana is to remain relevant. The CEO said, “As educators, it is imperative that the children under our charge are exposed to the best possible curriculum that will ensure that they become well-rounded citizens”.
Barbados based Guyanese Dr Gordon Harewood, Senior Assistant Registrar (retired) Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) who is a part of the consulting team said that there are many good things he saw about the country’s education system. He said that based on his experience as a teacher in Guyana more than two decades ago things have improved.
He said when he visited some schools recently it was refreshing to see the level of preparedness by teachers and their use of modern methodology to deliver their lessons. Notwithstanding these observations, Dr Harewood said that there is work to be done to ensure that the country’s curriculum is in keeping with what obtains globally.
The consultants leading the curriculum revision process are Dr Jeffrey Orr, Dean of Education, St. Francis Xavier University, Dr. Joanne Tompkins, Professor of Education, St. Francis Xavier University, Dr. Gregory MacKinnon, Professor of Education, Acadia University, Dr. Gordon Harewood, Senior Assistant Registrar (retired), Caribbean Examinations Council, Ms. Beth Charlton, Assistant Professor (retired), Mount St. Vincent University, and Dr. Ingrid Robinson, Assistant Professor of Education, St. Francis Xavier University.