The Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the education sector’s preliminary report has noted that it is “very important” that the Ministry of Education re-evaluate the Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) programme.
Chairman of the COI, Ed Caesar recently presented the report to the Minister of Education Dr Rupert Roopnaraine at the Ministry’s Brickdam office.
Caesar explained that throughout the year -long consultations, teachers complained about the ineffectiveness of the IRI programme. The IRI programme is taught at the primary level. “Some people are saying too many concepts; some people are saying too many things are happening too quickly; before the children can respond the answer has been given by the narrator and so on,” Caesar shared.
Caesar, a former Chief Education Officer (CEO), noted that some teachers credited the poor performance in mathematics at the primary level to the IRI programme. “In fact some schools have said let us abandon the IRI programme, and go back to the regular teaching of mathematics,” he added.
The IRI programme was introduced in the primary education system in 2006 for Grades One to Three. The Ministry of Education has committed to undertake a review of the IRI programme during the course of 2017. The Acting CEO, Marcel Hutson had told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that the assessment will be done with the aim of improving the programme’s delivery.
The review of the programme will be done by Mathematics experts from the National Centre for Education Resource Development (NCERD).
Meanwhile, the COI has also called for the strengthening of capacity for institutions like NCERD to carry out research and evaluate programmes introduced in the education system more efficiently.
“If there is a research capacity at NCERD, when activities or programmes are piloted, there will be some group of people to follow through, to do surveys to see whether we are going as a Ministry in the right direction,” Caesar recommended.
There also needs to be greater collaboration between the Ministry of Education and the University of Guyana (UG), the COI report recommended. The UG could assist the Ministry in carrying out research.
“We need the Ministry to identify areas where they need more information, areas where the Ministry need guidance and have the students at UG do research in those areas so that actions by the Ministry can be informed by research,” Caesar explained.