With the Westminster Secondary School completed, the teachers have been identified to begin teaching at the new school at the beginning of the new school year. Those teachers were told today to expect full support from the Ministry of Education as they embark on this new and exciting journey.
The Honourable Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, Chief Education Officer, Dr. Marcel Hutson, Deputy Chief Education Officer (Administration), Ms. Fazia Baksh, Assistant Chief Education Officer (Inspectorate), Mr. Saddam Hussain and Regional Education Officer, Mr. Davindre Persaud met with the teachers today at the St. Stanislaus College.
Minister Manickchand said today that the Ministry must ensure every child at the nursery, primary and secondary levels have access to education. She said that with that access, there is also the duty to ensure each child gets a quality education in a nurturing learning environment. She said that the Westminster Secondary School is designed to bring out the best in students.
Further, she stated that part of ensuring students get a quality education is monitoring how schools function and how students are taught. According to Minister Manickchand schools will no longer be monitored with a view of punishing teachers who may not be performing optimally but to support teachers so that students and the Ministry of Education can get the quality of work desired.
The Education Minister told the teachers today that they were chosen from a pool of excellent teachers and have been presented with a ‘blank canvas’ in the form of the Westminster Secondary School. She said that they have the opportunity and task to establish the school’s culture and its mode of operation.
She said that the school has been registered as an ‘A’ Grade and ‘List B’ school. However, Minister Manickchand charged the teachers that within the next five years, they can move the school to become a ‘List A’ school as it relates to the performance of students.
The teachers were also encouraged to register for the ProFuturo Program and be trained in using ICT tools for the delivery of education and the management of the school.
This point was also made by the Regional Education Officer, Mr. Davindre Persaud who said that most records and documents that will be submitted to the Department of Education – Region Three will be soft copy and that the school’s infrastructure will support that. To drive home the point, he announced that as of last month, the Department has gone paperless, using electronic means to record and store information thereby taking education management further into the digital age.
During his remarks, he said that discipline and supervision are top priorities at the school to ensure efficient management. He said that the Department of Education stands ready to support the teachers and has pledged that in the initial stage of the school’s opening, a welfare officer will be stationed there three days a week until a more permanent arrangement can be put in place.
Chief Education Officer, Dr. Marcel Hutson told the teachers today that they have the responsibility of serving the students of the communities in Region Three. He said that it is incumbent on the teachers and the education sector at large to see the students who will now attend the school advance and reach their full potential.
He advised teachers that with today’s initial meeting, they now have the task of crafting a plan for the school, the students and their parents. He said that an active Parent Teachers Association needs to be encouraged to make the school one of the best secondary schools in Guyana.
The Assistant Chief Education Officer (Inspectorate), Mr. Saddam Hussain told the teachers that as they establish the school with its vision, mission and school improvement plans, they will be guided throughout the process. He said following this, there will be instances when inspections will be done. However, he noted that such inspections will not be to penalize teachers but rather to identify weaknesses and provide the necessary support to address them.
He said that the school will have four Senior Mistresses/Masters, unlike other A Grade schools which have three. He noted that the school will be a Board School and come September when it opens officially, there will no longer be Primary Tops in Region Three.
The decision to construct the Westminster Secondary School was made in 2013 when the Ministry of Education was on the path to achieving Universal Secondary Education. The construction of the school was funded by the World Bank through the Guyana Secondary Education Improvement Project (GSEIP).
It features 32 classrooms; a language lab; dance studio; library; Physics, Chemistry and Biology laboratories; an Information Technology Laboratory; a theatre room; a Mathematics laboratory; Home Economics laboratory and an Agriculture Science Laboratory among other facilities built to provide the best education to the nation’s children. All of the furniture and necessary equipment has been procured and will be installed shortly.