Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A franchise on education

Its been almost 8 years since this government has been dependent on Cuba to train young people on scholarships with very little expense on our coffers. Once trained, these doctors, agriculturists, agro-chemists and other return to serve Guyana for up to 5 years before they can decide their future.

All this is good a well, Cuba is known for doing its bit to help developing countries in educational and other pursuits.

But what is the focus on the PPP on education?

Undoubtedly, the PPP is on the record placing education as a priority in the social sector. Year after year education receives the largest budgetary allocation, almost $ 4 billion to build new structures and close to $1 billion for feeding, school uniform and other social services programmes.

Some how with all the education strategic plans with all the Ministers occupying the seat that over looks education they continue to fail to connect with what the real issues are affecting schools.

Few educators are in the school system, trained CPCE teachers who once filled the public schools, are trained for export. Dr. Henry Jeffrey once suggested that the government might explore training the teachers and exporting them for a fee to governments and recruiting agencies.

This way he suggested, earns the coffers a significant sum on each teachers that the government had spent close to US$2000 a term to train.

The retired teachers are opting for the outside markets also and while little or no attention is paid to addressing the age of retirement, who opt to returned make less money that an untrained teacher.

Remedial education is still a luxury to a few schools, and yet when the ‘educators’ are opening centres to start remedial classes, they are no sure what the child needs help with.

The 70:1 teacher ratio in a class room does not help the situation. Teachers are more inclined to work with a few ‘bright’ ones while leaving the others to fend for themselves.

Since not every child is academically inclined, there is no system to identify a child’s skills early on. If the Education ministry is to take a poll on basic writing skills and ages in the Public Sector is might surprise itself the number of students who studied under this administration.

School clubs, grounds and the promotion of sports in schools are almost non-existent. There isn’t 20 schools in the city with active clubs or useable grounds for sports.

As the new school term opens and new students apply to the University of Guyana, the government should note how many of the top students it has praised in the press for passing CSEC and CAPE.

Guyanese students continue to perform excellent topping the region almost every year for the past five years. They are awarded by the CXC body for their performances, while the Education Ministry’s award is a mere trophy.

Can they say whatever happen to the esteemed Guyana Scholarship?

Why cant a child who has performed exceedingly well, beating the odds be given as chance to excel further on its country’s soil?

As we move on to elections year, we wait and look.

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