The Ministry of Education on Tuesday officially launched its online training programme for teachers to prepare them to deliver education through the use of information and communications technology (ICT).
All educators from public and private schools, trainee teachers at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) and lecturers at the University of Guyana (UG) will be able to participate in the 100-hour programme, facilitated by the Ministry through a partnership with the Organization of American States (OAS) and the ProFuturo Foundation.
There are over 10,000 teachers in the public school system and at least 1,000 in the private school system. Additionally, there are dozens of educators in training at the CPCE and lecturers at UG.
Minister of Education Priya Manickchand said the undertaking was the first of its kind.
“We heard you when you told us that it would help you if we would give you training in how to deliver your lessons using various platforms…. It’s a large undertaking, but we are happy to do it. It’s going to be the first time it’s happening here, where all our teachers are trained simultaneously,” the Minister was quoted as saying in a Department of Public Information release.
Meanwhile, National Project Coordinator of ProFuturo, Selwyn Griffith said upon completion of the course teachers would be awarded an e-certificate, which would be recognised by the Ministry.
“Teachers will be exposed to two routes of training: innovation and ICT in education. Under both routes, teachers will progress through four levels: basic, medium, advanced and professional.”
He indicated that teachers would also be provided with assistance, with some 300 personnel appointed as coaches to support the initiative. Mr Griffith added that they hope to complete the first batch of training by October.
Additionally, the Education Ministry has also reached out to the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT) and Digicel to zero-rate the training website to ensure teachers have minimum expenses.
The Ministry said while some required training videos were not on the website, they were few and would incur minimal charges.
The Ministry will be reaching out to educators in hinterland and riverine communities through adaptive means to ensure equal learning opportunities for all.
Having secured permission to reprint the training modules, the Ministry has identified over 2,000 teachers in hinterland areas to distribute printed lessons for the theoretical component of the training. Upon completion of the theory, arrangements will be made to get the practical aspect completed.
Local OAS Representative, Will Campbell and OAS Washington, USA Representative, Luis Benitez both applauded the Government for this undertaking.
Mr Benitez said he is “thrilled to see Guyana as an example for all the other countries in the Caribbean”. He added that they hope the project is sustained as the world moves forward into the digital age.
The Ministry’s Head of Management Information Systems Unit, Yoganand Indarsingh, said that a project is in the pipeline for a spin-off programme.
To this end, 50 teachers, who would have mastered the programme, will further train 1,000 teachers who will later instruct others, to develop a hybrid teaching system.