Guyana's response to school closure.
- Nursery level (public and private) 26,595 students (2017); 368 nursery centers.
- Primary (public and private); 81,115 students (2017); 418 schools.
- Secondary (public and private); 62,033 students; 118 schools.
- Post-secondary – 10 institutions across the country 3,539 students.
- Tertiary level – University of Guyana and Cyril Potter College of Education; 7,800 students.
- Non formal/Continuing Education
- Special Education
- The system has 9,258 teachers (1,922 at Nursery level, 3,929 at Primary, and 3,407 at secondary education level (2019). l (2019).
Ministry of Education
Schools have been closed since March 13, 2020 and continue to be closed. The re-opening of schools depends on decisions by the Ministry of Public Health considering the “restrictive” measures that must be considered for the opening of schools (but economy as well). Currently, there is no date set for reopening of educational centers. All information previously provided also pertains to preschool (3-4 year olds); schools reopened for exam taking students on June 15. July 1st – is the target for national grade 6 exam; and students will take the CXC / CSED on July 13. The Ministry has developed a guide for reopening schools in coordination with the Ministry of health. The MOE developed a guide in collaboration with UNICEF – it is being revised and circulated for stakeholders for feedback. MOE will send a copy of the guide / UNICEF for feedback to IDB.
School feeding concluded on April 13, 2020 in some regions. Since then, the Ministry of Education (MOE) does not provide food services to students in part due to the logistical issues associated with food distribution; especially in the Hinterland regions where some villages are “closed off” to minimize the risk of infection. Once the schools reopen, logistical solutions will be found to continue food distribution/ school feeding program. The schools that are open for the exams, the Ministry’s hotmeal services (only in schools that are open and usually participate in the program) will be available for primary students only (for the group that takes the exams). The MOE anticipates to open schools in September for the new academic term. The MOE is currently working on a condensed curriculum for the new academic year and plans to conduct an assessment of learning loss with the intention of prescriptive remediation processes. MOE is doing some specific assessments for that purpose (especially at early grades looking at EGRA and EGMA) . some assessment will be conducted during school closure (August) and then at the start-up of the new academic year. All students will advance to the next grade for the new school year.
During the last weeks, the MOE ramped up and provided more structured learning using on-line, radio and TV. The MOE is now more strategic in broadcasting/ airing lessons to make up for the missed lessons in schools to ensure that students can follow (and complete) the curriculum of their grade for this school year. The MOE has produced a number of lessons and continues to do so. Teachers are providing feedback through an on-line tool; the MOE wants to get more information/ feedback on how the experience was during the school closure (how did MOE respond, provide materials etc.). The feedback will be used to plan and ensure that the issues raised are addressed and taken into account for future events.
Study plans were developed for all grade levels using the media (TV, RADIO, and limited on-line learning). This is ongoing.
The MOE is using the materials it developed during the crisis.
Both Interactive-Radio-Instruction (IRI) and TV are ongoing and were there used prior to the closure of schools. The MOE plans to expand these tools to private schools to get a greater reach.
These last weeks, the MOE has been using MICROSOFT , ZOOM, GOOGLE and shared with teachers. The UNICEF learning passport will NOT be used. After experiences made, Google classroom is the preferred platform for lower levels; Moodle for post-secondary and tertiary students.
The MOE is currently able to monitor WHO is using WHICH resources, however, it has no assessment tools in place to evaluate / assess student learning. Nevertheless, the MOE is working on identifying some tools for better assessment.
There is no virtual tutoring scheme. In some secondary schools and for some courses at the university level, assignments and resource materials may be made available online for students but there are no ongoing virtual classrooms.
The MOE/ NCERD (its curriculum department) is developing materials. WB and UNICEF provide some limited support, however, main work is done in-house. On the nursery level and early grades (literacy and numeracy), the MOE is working to adapt content from pre-primary to lower secondary to be broadcasted by radio. The MOE is doing a pilot of an indigenous language focusing on emerging literacy and maths for nursery students.
There is the dedicated Learning Channel which broadcasts educational content including Grade and Subject-specific lessons. The Broadcast to Schools radio program. The Interactive Radio Instruction program for Mathematics at the primary level.
The MOE wants to move the national grade 6 on- line as well as provide e-testing for CSEC (CXC). CXC asks its member countries to put the structures in place to allow e-testing. The MOE wants to ensure that teachers are prepared for on-line learning. The MOE has a pilot in primary schools to enhance teacher training.
All secondary schools and 50% of primary schools are connected to the Government Network, which provides Internet bandwidth of 10Mbs.Yes, there is internet and a computer laboratory in most secondary schools. There is connectivity at the University. However, connectivity is an issue in remote areas (Hinterland).
Given that connectivity remains a major constraint, the MOE has started negotiations with the Mof Public Telecommunication to expand internet access especially in hinterland areas. To this end, the MOE has provided internet access to officers at MOE hq and regional offices to work during the school closure (COVID-19 emergency) to improve collaboration and communication among the different offices.
The MOE with the Guyana Telegraph Company (GTT) has an agreement to provide free access to the internet to all primary schools.
- Lack of continuous electricity nationwide
- Lack of basic IT infrastructure
- Lack of a personal computer in most households
- Lack of internet
- No structured online classroom content
- Need for teacher training
Since March 2020, the MOE has advanced on providing more resources. Connectivity remains a major challenge. Nevertheless, since March, the MOE has rolled out MICROSOFT (TEAMS) and platform throughout the country (focusing on MOE HQ and its regional offices). The MOE is also exploring and investigating new digital resources to improve the teachers’ capacity to deliver on-line teaching. The MOE is using TEAMS, ZOOM, GOOGLE and other tools to reach its teachers. The MOE is also working on expanding connectivity. After the experiences made, the MOE considers and uses Google classroom as the preferred platform for lower levels; and moodle for post-secondary and tertiary students.
The MOE is currently considering a multi-prong approach fully acknowledging that there will be a “new Normal”. The MOE is discussing the following aspects: a) organization of classrooms (how many teachers/ how many students to allow observance of social distancing measures); b) sanitary aspects (hand washing); c) condition of existing school infrastructure (some buildings might require more classrooms to meet new standards regarding student/teacher ratios). The MOE is aware that it is not in a position to deliver on-line learning and is instead focusing on organizing “face-to-face schools” to meet the new requirements (social distancing, hand washing etc.). One possible measure may be the introduction of shifts. D) Long-term measures – for every school to be operational (# of teachers/ students, physical layout of schools, enlarge schools – will require more planning).
In September, it is not fully decided yet – educational services might be blended. There are some initial discussions as to whether MOE will open Nursery grades (age 3) for the first time in September as well. If the nursery grades do not open in September, they might start in January. All guidelines developed for school reopening will apply to both public and private schools.
It will depend on the situation in Guyana. It is expected that at the secondary, post-secondary / tertiary level of education will require some remote learning (MOE received a GPE grant that will provide financing for remote learning).