Teachers interested in taking courses offered by the Faculty of Education and Humanities (FEH) of the University of Guyana can now do so entirely online, removing the requirement to obtain releases to continue these studies, a announced the Ministry of Education.
The announcement was made on Wednesday with the launch of the International Center of Excellence for Educator Innovation, Learning and Development (ICEEILD) within FEH.
According to a ministry press release, the Center will allow those interested in taking courses offered by FEH to do so online and will be seen as particularly innovative and transformative for teachers, who would otherwise have had to obtain releases from the classroom. class to attend university.
The statement said that at the launch on Wednesday, Minister of Education Priya Manickchand hailed the launch as “a great moment” for teacher education in Guyana, while President of the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU), Mark Lyte, registered the union’s support for the initiative.
According to the statement, Manickchand said that the idea behind the creation of ICEEILD and the provision of courses offered by FEH online came about after admission to the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) increased significantly when the College decided to offer teacher training online.
The statement said Manickchand noted that prior to the COVID pandemic, teacher training at CPCE was face-to-face and that due to limited accommodation, the College could only admit approximately 535 students per year. .
With the College closed due to the pandemic, however, the statement said CPCE was eventually forced to offer its programs online, which the minister said led to increased admissions to some 2,000 students from of 2021, since the number of teachers training was no longer limited by physical space.
According to the statement, Minister Manickchand said that with the increase in the number of students, there is also an increase in the number of people pursuing an Associate Degree in Education (ADE) at CPCE.
The statement said she explained that with the advent of ICEEILD, when teachers complete their ADE course at CPCE, they will now be able to move on to the University of Guyana where, after two additional years of study, they will graduate with a full university degree. diploma.
The statement said Manickchand noted that with the College producing more faculty eligible to move on to UG to acquire their degree, a problem was created as the university’s FEH could not accommodate the large number of teachers through face-to-face engagement.
As a result, according to the statement, the University was tasked with reviewing the way it offered its programs to teachers, which ultimately led to the creation of ICEEILD. It provides for all the courses offered by the Faculty through the new online platform and they will be taught over a period of 5 hours, from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
According to the statement, Manickchand said this will allow teachers to continue studies after school hours, reducing wasted time with students, while noting most importantly that teachers will no longer be required to request releases to follow the courses. courses offered by the FEH.
“This means that we are going to be able to put more and more trained teachers in classrooms and they will be more effective in delivering education,” the statement quoted the education minister as saying.
According to the statement, Lyte added that teachers welcomed the decision to take university classes online, while offering the option for teachers who cannot access the online platform to continue to benefit from face-to-face classes as well. face to face.
The statement said the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Paloma Mohamed-Martin, noted that Manickchand’s vision was for the University to develop a plan to close the learning gap, ensuring that that teachers no longer leave the classroom to teach, but without depriving them of the possibility of continuing their studies.
Meanwhile, the press release states that the Dean of the Faculty of Education and Humanities, Dr. Roslin Khan, emphasized that ICEEILD will lay the foundation for continuing education opportunities in relevant theories and offer learning opportunities for academic and vocational training within the communities, while adding that the targeted participants will include trained or untrained teachers and other interested adult learners both inside and outside of Guyana.
According to the statement, FEH coordinator at the Berbice campus, Camania Khedaroo, said the Center provides educators with opportunities and learning experiences that will enable them to engage critically with current and evolving dynamics. of their environment. She added that for educators in Berbice, this represents “renewed energy aimed at revitalizing the education sector through the commitment of educators with the highest standards of professional development in leadership, management, development. teaching and learning, innovation and research”.