The Ministry of Education (MoE) in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has launched a National Sensitization workshop for Early Childhood (EC) Development.
The two-day workshop commenced today at Parc Rayne on the East Bank of Demerara and targets education officials from across the country. These officials will be introduced to the Early Childhood ‘Good Practice Guide’ that is currently being circulated in countries across the Caribbean.
In delivering the keynote address, Minister of Education, Dr. Nicolette Henry, reminded the audience of the importance of such an exercise. She said that such capacity building ventures will improve performance and will enhance the country’s abilities to function adequately in the education sphere.
Further, the Minister shared her belief that the workshop will ensure that Guyana stays relevant within the context of a continually changing and evolving education system. Additionally, Dr. Henry said that the importance of investments in education at an early stage cannot be over emphasized. “The knowledge, skills, and practices of early childhood are important factors in determining how much a child learns and how prepared that child is,” Minister Henry told the gathering. She said too that she is aware that educators are being asked to have a complex understanding of early childhood development.
Notwithstanding those expectations, Minister Henry said the extensive and detailed process undertaken by the stakeholders to develop the good practice guide is important in offering research directions to assist educators in framing the most suitable methodology in content delivery.
Meanwhile, Chief Education Officer, Mr. Marcel Hutson, in his address to the workshop said that if the guide is used properly by educators and policymakers it stands to transform the education sector. Added to that, the CEO said that educators should set standards that children will be desirous of emulating and that the guide under consideration will aid this process.
Hutson also reminded the educators of the impact they can have on children’s’ lives and advocated that educators be creators and facilitators of learning and not mere teachers.
The workshop is being conducted by Ms. Sian Williams of Jamaica and Mr. Leon Charles of Grenada, two leading EC Development specialist from the region. The forum is intended to develop an understanding of the specific principles that have to be addressed in programming for each of the areas of good practice covered by the guide.
Additionally, the workshop is intended to explore how principles can be applied to the specific national setting, including discussion on whether the applications in the guide are appropriate for Guyana’s context.