Former Chief Education Officer (CEO) Ed Caesar has been named Chairman of the Government established Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the education sector, Education Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine has said.
The Minister made the announcement during a meeting with the press on Wednesday where details of the education CoI were laid out.
According to Dr Roopnaraine, the CoI is expected to run for some four months and will be examining the state of affairs of the public education system between September 2010 and July 2014. While the investigation has a four month life span, there is a possibility of a short extension if the need arises. The recommendation from that investigation, he said, will be fed into the administrative policies and legislative processes, where the actions will be initiated.
According to Dr Roopnaraine, the Ministry is tasked with the responsibility of formulating and monitoring education policy from nursery to tertiary levels. And despite commendable performances from the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) to the Caribbean Advance Proficiency Examination (CAPE), low and declining examination scores continue to typify the general state of education nationally. He said at the tertiary level, the University of Guyana remains unequal to the challenge of human development with regards to both enrollment and the delivery of the curriculum.
“There have been anecdotal indicators of causation including poor adherence to protocols, challenges to human resources development inadequate learning environment, infrastructure, and indirect social factors”, Dr Roopnaraine said of the highest learning institution in the country.
The Education Minister said parallel to the declining performance in the public education system, has been an inclining performance in the private education system.
“The initial finding of a June/July 2015 initial audit of the Ministry’s services and delivery infrastructure had indicated that the problems are endemic. There remains a consistent gap between even the Ministry’s own recommendations and actual practice”.
Dr Roopnaraine said the Ministry’s credo of “eliminating illiteracy, modernising education and strengthening tolerance” serves as an abstract base point in which it measures it education delivery in general.
“The first is that literacy expands beyond the literal literacy and numeracy and encompasses a wide range of basic fundamental skills including technological and cultural. Modernising education implies both the integration of up to date technology and its practicum in teaching. Finally, the goal of strengthening tolerance as the core part of the Ministry’s agenda speaks to the recognition that the public education system has a critical role to play in promoting social cohesion within a tradition in a deeply divisive society.”
He said education in Guyana will require comprehensive and far reaching reform, if the system is going to prove capable of addressing the country’s developmental needs.
“This reform will only be achievable subsequent to a far ranging inquiry into the public education sector; one that paints an accurate picture as possible of the state of the sector,” Dr Roopnaraine said
The general objectives of the inquiry are to establish a baseline analysis of the state of the education sector in Guyana, and to recommend broad strategic guidelines for the enhancement of public education.
The Commission will be allowed to employ the in camera and public consultation methodologies when conducting the inquiry on any aspect of the investigation.
Other member of the 11-member team include Secretary Kellyann Hercules, Ingrid Trotman, Marcelle Hutson, Leslyn Charles, Ramesh Persaud, Vibert Hart, Ronald Austin Jnr and Mark Lyte.