The University of Guyana (UG) in partnership with Nova Southeastern University is offering a one-off Masters of Education Programme which will be effected through interactive classes at UG and online courses. The programme was launched earlier today at the Education Lecture Theatre, University of Guyana, Turkeyen Campus.
Minister of Education Shaik Baksh during his remarks pointed out that the programme is being offered since Government recognises the need to build capacity and for training to be offered at a higher level to enable the education sector to move forward.
The Minister stated that Government remains strongly committed to the development of the education sector and is ensuring that more funds are made available to develop the human resources.
The programme will cost Government $1.5M per student and the Minister pointed out that Government expects value for money. He urged that the students stay the course and ensure that they complete the programme since they were chosen based on their performance at the first Degree level. He also expressed the hope that students would not ‘drop out’.
The Minister said that he is aware that more resources need to be provided to the University for it to move forward, but without partnerships, the institution cannot on its own offer post-graduate studies since academic supervision is important at that level.
With this programme it is expected that the graduates will provide support at critical levels in management within the sector. The programme will run for 18 months after which, based on the outcome, the Ministry will decide whether it can be continued. Part of the coursework, the Minister said involved education policy development and analysis which is relevant and explained that he would like to see this area developed.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana Dr. Tota Mangar in his remarks pointed out that the students will be majoring in education management, supervision and planning. The programme has become a reality after two years of discussions and negotiations and is designed to meet the specific needs of Guyana. It is an initiative of the Ministry of Education and its Basic Education Access and Management Support (BEAMS) Programme.
He pointed out that it was realised that Guyana does not have enough expertise to effect the programme and tenders were invited. Proposals were received from Nova Southeastern University and the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. Dr. Mangar noted that Nova Southeastern University was chosen since it already had experience with the programme and it also offered more options.
Chief Education Officer (ag) Genivieve Whyte-Nedd stated that persons often do not associate BEAMS with the Ministry but through this programme several areas within the education system will receive assistance. BEAMS focuses on three major areas including improving school performance, organizational and human resource capacity development and civil works. The programme caters for several areas including literacy and numeracy enhancement, Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) programme, teacher preparation and in-service training among others.
Representing the Nova Southeastern University, Dr. Jorge Fernandez explained that the thesis will allow the students to identify problems in the education system in Guyana and use scientific research to examine and understand the problem and find solutions. The solution would then in turn be applied to the situation to solve the problem.
This he said will enable students to solve at least 35 problems at the end of the course. However he noted that if the solutions applied do not work it does not mean that the student has failed. This means that the solution was not the right one and that maybe some other student will come along who will build on that work and find the appropriate solution. He expressed the commitment that he will do everything he can to ensure that the programme is a success.