The Ministry of Education, the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), and the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) met today to discuss how the three entities can collaborate on Sustainable Tourism Development through education.
Director of the GTA, Mr. Brian Mullis, said that one of the primary aspects of achieving the Green State Development Strategy is all round ministerial collaboration. Mr. Mullis indicated that one of the main areas that the three entities should collaborate on is the development of a standardized curriculum focused on professional development. He said that this curriculum can be developed in such a way that it complements the programmes that are already offered by the University of Guyana.
He added that such a collaboration is timely since the Ministry of Education will establish a Hospitality Institute, the first of its kind in Guyana.
Meanwhile, Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry, said that she is happy that the GTA and THAG have expressed their willingness to collaborate. Minister Henry said that she believes that with the establishment of the Hospitality Institute there will be more opportunities for the three entities to collaborate to ensure the development of the tourism sector.
She noted that development will be possible under the right conditions within two main areas, which are policy guidelines and development and human resource capacity.
Chief Education Officer, Marcel Hutson said that in the school system, tourism as a subject is offered at the highest level in the secondary schools which is the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).
This was supported by Senior Education Officer (Science), Mr. Gerald Jewram who said that at the CAPE level there is an Associate Degree in Tourism that is offered. He said that the programme is offered in two units, each containing three modules.
Moreover, according to the CEO, the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) would be an ideal place to address the issue of a curriculum that targets training in the tourism sector.
He said that now more than ever there is a need for a sustainable approach to developing tourism in Guyana.
Assistant Chief Education Officer, Mr. Patrick Chinedu, remarked that the opportunity is timely. He said that with THAG and the GTA on board, further guidance can be given as to how the education sector can respond to the needs of the tourism sector.
The President of THAG, Mr. Mitra Ramkumar, said that one of the major outcomes he wishes to see through this collaboration is the changing of the narrative regarding tourism and hospitality.
He said that the industry is often seen as one that cultivates waiters and servants. He said that the narrative needs to change so that persons can understand that the industry is much more than that since it teaches persons more about their country and helps to promote patriotism.
During the discussion today, the Ministry of Education was also represented by the Principal of the CPCE, Ms. Viola Rowe; Assistant Chief Education Officer (Primary), Ms. Carol Benn; Director of NCERD, Ms. Jennifer Cumberbatch; Director of the Unit of Allied Arts, Ms. Lorraine Barker-King; and Assistant Chief Education Officer (Nursery), Ms. Samantha Williams.