Innovations

         Teacher Gloria Omololu Institute, Anguilla

         Basic Education Reform Project, Dominica

         Haiti: The Ministry's Vision of Education

         The Competency Shelter Project, Jamaica

         St. Lucia Basic Education Reform Project

         An Overview of Selected Pilot Programmes, Planning Strategies and Innovations of the Past 20 Years in Suriname

         The Pre-Service Teacher Training Programme, Trinidad & Tobago

          The Teachers' Resource Centre, Anguilla

         Training in Essential Skills in the Netherlands Antilles

         Innovated Multigrade School Project, Dominican Republic

         The Magnet Schools Project, Guyana

         Human Rights Education for Citizenship, Guyana




Innovation: Teacher Gloria Omololu Institute

A Community-based Educational Programme of Omololu Educational Institute, Inc.

The Omololu Educational Institute Incorporated, a non-profit organization with a board of fourteen directors, operates the Teacher Gloria Omololu Institute. The founder is Dr. Oluwakemi M. Linda Banks, a clinical psychologist, human resource development consultant, communication specialist and an educator. Dr. Banks' formal teaching career, as a primary and secondary school teacher and a head teacher of an all-age primary school, spanned the years 1965 to 1981. She then returned to college to pursue graduate studies in Clinical Psychology with minors in Cross Cultural Clinical Assessment and Speech Communications/ Telecommunications.

The Institute has been named after Dr. Banks' sister, Gloria. Cassandra Banks-Harrigan, a model teacher, who epitomized the characteristics of the Teacher Gloria Omololu Institute. Teacher Gloria's life on earth came to an end through. a tragic accident in 1987.

Omololu is a Yoruba name from West Africa which means "Children are the Summit of Achievement". The word ‘Institute' has been chosen to embrace the total concept of education for life as the Institute plans to provide educational opportunities to people at all stages of development.

The Institute was established on September 3, 1994, with an enrollment of forty-five students who formed two preschool classes and one primary class. An additional class is being added each year, as the primary aged children get older, so that by the seventh year of operations, the year 2000, the Institute will be a full primary school of six grades.

The Teacher Gloria Omololu Institute was registered in 1994 under the provision of the 1993 Anguilla Education Act for private assisted primary schools at a time when the Anguillan Education System was facing increasing challenges. These challenges were evident in the demotivation and lack of commitment of teachers and an escalation of behavioural and emotional problems of children in the school as well as the wider society. Obviously children were demonstrating their alienation and the failure of the system to meet their educational and human developmental needs.

The Teacher Gloria Omololu Institute is an intervention to maximize the human potential and produce well adjusted citizens for Anguilla in particular and the world at large.


Critical components

Solid Core Curriculum

A curriculum in early childhood education developed in Jamaica and St. Maarten at the Methodist Agogic Centre (MAC) is used. This is based on an integrated thematic approach and individual development needs.


Multicultural Education

Education on our African heritage, Caribbean culture and other cultures is incorporated in the programme to foster tolerance of others, goodwill and a positive identity.


Parental and Community Involvement

Pupil enrollment is contingent on parental interest and involvement. Community support is solicited and programmes are planned for parents and the community.


Environmental Awareness

Care for and appreciation of our environment is taught. Sustainable practices are introduced and reinforced.


Safe, Nurturing, Stimulating Environment

An atmosphere conducive to learning and healthy adjustment is created. Children are nurtured and valued as unique, worthy human beings.


Holistic Approach

Moral, spiritual, physical, intellectual emotional and psychosocial development are key features. The educational programme is based on development "from the cradle to the grave", providing meaningful life experiences.


Multilingual Competence

Foreign languages are taught from the Preschool level beginning with Spanish and later French.


Creative and Expressive Skills

Opportunities are provided for children to express themselves creatively through art, drama, music, dance, poetry, storytelling and swimming.


Positive Gender Relations

Mutual respect and understanding between the genders are promoted. Positive role models, male and female, are constantly sought.


Affordable and Inclusive

The educational programme is available to all interested families through affordable tuition and fees. Parents are involved in fund-raising and ‘in kind' contributions.


Qualified, Committed Teachers

Sensitive, caring, qualified teachers, committed to the philosophy of the Institute arc recruited. The recruitment of male teachers is being actively pursued.


Positive Self Esteem and Committment to Excellence

Children are urged to be their best. Weekly Omololu Time promotes values, reaching for the summit and respect for self and others. Omololu Super Child of the Week provides positive reinforcement.


For more information on the Institute, address correspondence to P.O. Box 85, The Valley, Anguilla, British West Indies, or telephone 264-497-3911 or 264-497KID-0.


Basic Education Reform Project Dominica

INTRODUCTION

Dominica’s Basic Education Reform Project is an attempt by the Government to initiate a reform of the education system by focusing planned activities on the basic compulsory education cycle, in a manner that is consistent with the nation’s social development policy. The five year project is funded by the World Bank to the tune of US $6.1M with a counterpart contribution from the Government of US $1.8M. Its overall objective is to accelerate human resource development to ensure that the requisite manpower exists to attain the desired economic transition in Dominica. The implementation was started in 1996.

PROJECT COMPONENTS

The Project comprises three major components:

  1. A Strengthening Management and Planning Component would help to:

    • Reorganise the school system, upgrade staff, and improve co-ordination among key operating units of the Ministry;
    • Build a capacity for planning and analysis within the Ministry and formulate a long term sector development plan;
    • Initiate development of an integrated education data system to facilitate sector analysis, administration and management and policy-making;
    • Establish a permanent project development and management capacity within the Ministry; and finance special studies to assist in formulating future policies and programme developments.

  2. A Qualitative Improvement of Basic Education Component will enhance the quality of teaching and learning through:

    • Upgrading basic training and revising and intensifying in-service training for all teachers (with special emphasis on science, mathematics, social studies and language arts) and concurrently ensuring their more appropriate utilisation and job satisfaction through improved personnel supervision, management and career development;
    • Formulating and adopting improved curricula with special emphasis on the core subjects;
    • Establishing an educational testing and measurement capacity to monitor student and system performance;
    • Identifying and instituting more cost-effective methods of selection, production, procurement and distribution of educational materials;
    • Providing support for the acquisition of textbook and education materials for the most disadvantaged schools to include those serving the Carib Territory. Further, this component would strengthen the School Library Service by intensifying its activities in the northern part of Dominica.

  3. Expansion and conservation of school places in an effort to provide more secondary school places in the most under-served districts to reduce long distance travel and facilitate access to educational opportunities. This component would also provide for the rehabilitation of selected primary and secondary schools and support a new, systematic, prevention maintenance and replacement of existing school plants.

STATUS

The capacity of the Ministry of Education has been strengthened by the institutionalisation of the Project Management Unit and the Education Planning Unit. The latter is staffed by an educational planner, educational statistician and an assistant statistician. Its primary task is to prepare a long range plan for the education sector and to pursue research that would inform policy formulatioin.

The Project Management Unit is responsible for the implementation of the Basic Education Project as well as other development projects by the Ministry of Education. It is managed by a project manager and incorporates what was formerly known as the School Maintenance Unit.

The accomplishments of the Basic Education Project can be summarised as follows:

  • Eight (8) Government Primary Schools have been selected for the first phase of the school rehabilitation programme. Contracts have been completed for four (4) schools and there is an overall 80% completion of the works. This has led to very significant improvements in the classroom environment for teaching and learning.
  • The tendering process has been completed for four (4) of the five new buildings that are to be completed under the project; contractors have been approved for two of the items and the contractual process is almost complete in respect of a new secondary school. The proposed new school will be completed in 1999 and will offer six hundred (600) places for secondary education to a rural catchment area and thereby make the goal of universal secondary education more attainable.
  • Seventeen nominees have been selected for fellowships of at least a one-year duration. Four (4) returned to the state during the current month after successful completion of their programmes. Over the next two weeks another eight (8) persons will each commence Masters degree courses at the UWI and universities in the U.K. and the U.S.A. On return, their new skills will strengthen the capacity of the Ministry to support the school system and to plan and manage the education sector.
  • Expert consultant services have been procured from four consultant firms in the areas of Educational Planning, Education Management, Procurement and Project Management. This input of technical expertise is designed to enable the implementation process and to secure the level of skill transfer that is required for sustainability of the reform process. Overall, the consultants have completed about 70% of their work.
  • Local studies are being prepared in seven areas. These are managed by the Education Planning Unit and broad-based research teams, one of which is assisted by a local consultant. It is anticipated that more local consultants will be recruited to assist the teams. The concept of research teams in concert with local consultants is aimed at strengthening ownership of resultant recommendations and enhancing the growth of local capacity as well as the potential for collaboration.
  • Over the next few months implementation activities will focus on construction of the new buildings, completion on on-going consultancy services, establishment of new units, settling in of returned fellows and the procurement and delivery of goods and services.


Haiti: The Ministry’s Vision of Education

  1. The National Plan of Education and Formation (NPEF) is the result of the Haitian educational policy elaborated from 1993 to 1997 by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MNEYS).

  2. The Plan’s work started in December 1993 under the Government auspices with a wide participation of all sectors concerned with the future of education and with the help from international agencies like UNESCO, UNICEF, USAID. Even though the Plan is not fully completed yet, the Ministry considers that it is already in process.

  3. The NPEF was preceded by a Technical Diagnostic Report (1994-1995) and The General States of Education (1996). The technical diagnosis revealed that the educational system faces important problems. The general states involved all the sectors of education in a wide public consultation and brought up a broad consensus on the major proposals of the Plan.

  4. The actual Ministry’s vision of education is expressed as follows:

    "The Ministry’s vision of the Haitian school is one that ensures universal access to quality basic education for all and a Ministry of Education which fully exercises its role as a guarantee of democratisation and quality education to all levels, in both public and private sectors, throughout the national territory. (MNEYS, NPEF. p.23)

THE GUIDELINES OF HAITIAN EDUCATIONAL POLICY

The Challenges

According to the Technical Diagnostic Report (1994-1995), the Haitian educational system faces many challenges. The most important are the following:

  1. Accessibility to Education

    More than half of the population in school age, around 1,600,000 children, are outside the educational system. This situation is particularly critical for disadvantaged children living in rural areas and poor suburbs. Primary schools are not easily accessible throughout the country: only 23% of children in school age living in rural areas attend school. During the last five years, the Government was unable to create more than 20,000 new places per year.

  2. Poor Quality of the Basic Education

    The poor quality of the basic education can be observed at all levels of the educational system and many young students, after a long period of schooling, are unskilled for active life. Whatever the aspect of quality considered: suitable buildings with trained teachers, availability of text books and other teaching materials for all students or some factors related to the learner’s environment (familial environment, bad conditions of health and nutrition), the Haitian situation is characterised by extremely disadvantaged indicators. As a result, the levels of knowledge and competencies acquired by the students are not competitive according to the international standards. In addition, the wide disparities between the best and the worst schools throughout the country is responsible for the erosion of education quality.

  3. Inadequacy of the School System in Line with the Quality of our Labour Force

    One of the shortcomings of the educational system is its incapacity to prepare a trained manpower for the work market. This situation is responsible for international dependency in terms of qualified professionals and specialists. The country faces growing difficulties to survive and prosper in a competitive and modern world.

  4. Weak Governance by the Ministry

    The weakness of the Ministry’s governance can be observed in its management role of a public service assuming responsibility for education to all citizens. With its limited resources, the Ministry cannot ensure every child access to education. Enrolment in the private sector is high in relation to the capacity of the public sesctor. Many of the private schools are commercial institutions instead of educational centre questing for quality. The Ministry is unable to exercise its leadership in the regulation of the educational system as a whole.

Priority Areas of Education Actions

The following courses of action will be taken within the coming ten years:

Action 1

Expansion of Schooling Offer

The NPEF emphasises the importance of focusing on basic education as the first priority of public education expenditure of the country. As a result, the Plan aimed to give universal access to basic education to every child aged from 6 to 11 years within the coming 15 years.

If the demographic growth rate is to be maintained, the school aged population (5-8) will attain 3 million within the next ten years. Such a situation leads to strong pressures for more educational infrastructure.

The priority actions of the Plan for responding to the schooling demand are:

  • To construct and equip new school buildings with the capacity to enroll all the children in the basic education.
  • To increase actual schooling rate for the 6-11 years old from 44% to universal access around the year 2015.
  • To encourage private educational actions, particularly community actions in the education sector.

Action 2

Improvement of Basic Quality Education

The principles which guide the Ministry’s actions on quality are the following:

  • The quest for a basic quality education based on effective learning which is responsive to the social, linguistic, scientific and economic needs of the country and contribute to the intellectual, physical, moral, civic and cultural development of the young Haitians.
  • The availability of textbooks and teaching materials for each school and every child.
  • The pedagogical training for all the teachers.
  • The reinforcement of the leadership role of public sector in pedagogical assistance and the regulation of the overall sector.

Action 3

Renewal of Technical and Vocational Education

The strategic goal will be to renew technical and vocational education along the following lines:

  • The reconstitution of the National Institute of Vocational Training by increasing and strengthening its regulation role of the vocational education in the national sub-system.
  • The development of new administrative and pedagogical decentralisation mechanisms.
  • The development of new curricula to respond adequately to industrial modernisation needs and to accommodate workers of the informal sector.
  • The involvement of the productivity sector and the concerned Ministries (Agriculture, Tourism, Social Affairs, Trade and Industry) in order to review the goals and the financial resources of technical and vocational training.
  • The setting up of a Codified System of Jobs and Professions at the national level.

Action 4

Institutional Reinforcement of the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports

This action implies an institutional development Plan of The Ministry which will allow to restructure the different educational services and to improve the process and the standards of performance without diminishing the services to be offered to the internal or external customers: director, schoolmaster, teachers and students. The variables which must be taken into account are the following:

  • The goals. Elaboration of a new legal framework for the provision of education in Haiti in accordance with the broad objectives of the implementation of the proposed reforms.
  • The skills. Involvement of a new public service culture based on the development of responsibility centres, the increasing of autonomy of the directions and the setting up of internal audit systems.
  • The process and the performance. Elaboration of a new process focusing on result, the knowledge of customer needs and the continuing improvement of the quality of the administrative and pedagogical services.
  • The training. Establishment of a professional body (Inspectors and pedagogical counsellors, school directors, trainers) which will both be competent enough so that it can improve standards of learning and teaching, and provide information and advice on the schools’ performance.

Action 5

Consolidation of Secondary School Recent Expansion and Implementation of a Diversified and Renovated Secondary School

The Ministry’s policy regarding secondary education will apply the following measures:

  • The enhancement of education quality in the existing lycee.
  • The conversion of many of them into new secondary school.
  • The gradual move of Basic Secondary Schools toward the Ecole Fondamentale d’Application et Centre d’Appui Pédagogique (EFACAP).
  • The necessity to be competitive in the international world by implementing four years of schooling in accordance with the new secondary curriculum.
  • The construction of 30 new schools for the new secondary education with improved standards (class size of 40 students, success in state exams ranging from 65 to 70%) and a diversified curriculum with a special emphasis on computer studies.
  • The new secondary programme should be of high quality and oriented towards a diversity of options open to students in different schools, and the implications of each option in terms of employment, future study and entry into training.

Action 6

Establishment of a Diversified and Quality University System while Supporting the Integration and Development of Scientific Research

The Ministry expects to promote autonomy and responsibility of both public and private sectors by reinforcing its regulation and assessment capacity.

    The global strategy to implement this policy will consist in:

  • Elaborating the legal and administrative framework that will facilitate an organised development of higher education institutions.
  • Implementing a general reform of Haiti’s State University (UGH) in accordance with autonomy and imputability principles.
  • Diversifying the training offer and decentralising the higher education structure according to the needs and opportunities of the development of fields of knowledge.
  • Creating institutional conditions required for the development of research, as a way to allow the State University to accompany the transformation process of the Haitian society.
  • Mobilising human resources for supporting the development of higher education and scientific research.

Action 7

Rationalisation and Structuration of Literacy Programmes, Non-formal Education for Adults and for the Young Outside the Educational System

The Plan’s aim will be to eradicate gradually adult illiteracy. A special attention will be given to women in the informal sector allowing them to take advantage of service training and development assistance offered by some institutions.

The Ministry’s role will consist particularly in:

  • Encouraging and supporting the local initiative by mobilising for them the pedagogical resources and assistance facilities of the Ministry.
  • Encouraging the complementarity and the synergy of initiative from different partners (NGO, community organisations, volunteer associations, etc.) for increasing global efficacity of their actions.
  • Supporting the research-action initiative in order to improve the training methods and pedagogical resources.
  • Favouring the integration of educational actions with all the development efforts promoted by the other institutions, such as ministries, local agencies, associations and NGOs.

Action 8

Improvement of Learning Opportunities by Strengthening and Integrating a Support System for the Early Childhood

The Plan’s policy in this area is defined along the following lines:

  • To rule the sub-sector in order to implement the same recruitment conditions.
  • To develop professional programme training.
  • To eliminate exam recruitment for entering in the basic school.
  • To articulate in a coherent form the educational action network with the other Ministries (Health, Social Affairs) and the Non governmental organisations involved in early childhood education in order to mobilise resources in direction of parents, nutrition assistance and child health care.

Action 9

Improvement of the Teacher’s Working Conditions

The following measures will be taken in order to improve the teachers’ working conditions:

  • Recruitment procedures for the teaching career will be improved when entering in pedagogical school training.
  • Continuing training of teachers in-service in the public and private sectors will be encouraged through distance education, universities, teachers training school, teachers’ organisations.
  • Implementation of career prospects with regulations concerning rights and duties will be established by the Ministry and the teacher’s organisations.

Cost and Financing

In the National Plan three scenarios have been made of capital costs for financing the investments in infrastructure and training.

The greater part of the recurrent spending required by the NPEF will be met from the Ministry’s budget.

The implementation of NPEF requires a significant portion of the national budget. It is estimated that 20% of the budget should be allocated to education. Other financing resources should be considered: NGOs, private sector, external resources (Haitian diaspora, international agencies).

Implementation and Evaluation

The Plan requires serious commitment by all partners in the educational system and must be concerned with how it is to be carried out. The central body for the implementation of the NPEF will be a Pilot Unit (Cellule de pilotage) which will be set up in the Ministry of Education. It will be headed by a Head Chief, assisted by a team of technicians and a support staff. It will work in close collaboration with the Planning Division. The Pilot Unit will have overall responsibility for initiating and carrying through action on all the proposal in the NPEF. It will keep the Minister informed of progress in implementation and of any problems which may arise. It will advise the Minister on any necessary action.


The Competency Shelter Project, Jamaica

BACKGROUND

Over the years the need to develop a functionally literate and numerate population has been a matter of grave concern in Jamaica. A number of variables contribute to this situation. These include late school entry, poorly furnished and over crowded classrooms, poor economic circumstances, low performance expectations and poor self esteem. Because of the above scenario each year a large number of students leave the primary school system performing below the required standard. Since these students have failed to acquire the basic skills at the primary level they are invariably unable to benefit from secondary education. With the approach of the 21st century, the need to address this deficiency is foremost. It is in this context that the competency shelter project was implemented in a number of primary and all age schools across the island.

The Project

The Competency Shelter project seeks:

  1. to provide an enriched learning environment so as to foster an improvement in the literacy and numeracy skills of these students;
  2. to enhance the students’ self esteem, and thus bring about improved academic performance and less aggression;
  3. to develop critical and creative thinking skills.

Educational researchers have time and again attested to the fact that more active and thoughtful participation in classes was observed in situations where teachers allowed students an average of three to five seconds more than the usual two seconds for reflection when questions were addressed to them.

The main objectives of the project therefore are:

  1. To stem the problem of illiteracy;
  2. To prepare the students for secondary education;
  3. To enhance the students’ self esteem.

Other Features of the Project

  1. The students, selected from grades four through six are, as has been mentioned before, the students that are performing below grade level. Many of them because of low socio- economic status, are regarded as "at risk" youth. The principals are therefore strongly advised to keep the numbers per class at a maximum of twenty. Even so the need is sometimes so great that there are cases of classes with twenty five students. It is advisable to have small classes so as

    1. to move away as much as possible from the traditional classroom climates and non individualised attention;
    2. to provide a more secure and intimate environment since at the heart of the project is the concern for the individual child.

  2. These teachers are specially selected. They are usually very experienced teachers (sometimes retired) who are "high on the affective". They are teachers who are patient and understanding and who are able to bring the best out of the students. These teachers have been trained in creative remedial approaches and are able to motivate the students.

  3. Where possible, and many times through community input, classrooms are upgraded to make them more attractive and more conducive to learning. In all cases the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture has provided additional learning materials over and above the school’s regulation supply. These classes have also been given additional funding to assist with field trips and classroom materials. Teachers are encouraged to take students out of the confines of the classroom as often as possible, and to introduce them to a ‘different’ way of learning. Emphasis is on Reading, Mathematics and Critical/Creative Thinking; however, the other subject areas are not divorced from the curriculum but are brought to bear especially on the Mathematics and Reading. Critical/Creative Thinking is not taught as a subject by itself but is brought out in all areas of learning.

GROWTH

UNESCO provided the project with a "kick start" through some amount of funding and in late 1993 the project was started in forty-two schools identified by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture. A few of these schools dropped out of the project because of various reasons. A number of other schools saw the positive effect the project had on the students and started projects on their own. This academic year, 1997-1998, some thirty-two schools are slated to be added to the number.

Response from principals, teachers and the community at large has been positive. Some individuals and communities have responded to this initiative by sponsoring the production of reading books, library facilities, carpeting of classrooms and so on.

An evaluation of the project revealed that it had made a positive impact on the students. The following table illustrates the comparison of reading levels at which students entered the project in the first year and the reading levels attained at the end of the year.

There has also been vast improvement, especially in the social skills of the students, and their self esteem is much improved. Over the past three (3) years about ten of these students who some thought to be "no good" were able to gain entrance through special tests and the Common Entrance Examination to Comprehensive High and Traditional High Schools.


St. Lucia Basic Education Reform Project

INTRODUCTION

The Basic Education Reform Project was designed to assist the Government of St. Lucia (GOSL) to initiate a programme of accelerated reform of its education system. It was felt that such a reform is necessary to achieve a rapid development of the country’s human resource base which is a prerequisite to the attainment of the desired economic and social transition. In pursuit of this goal therefore, the Government secured technical and financial support from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) on the one hand, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA) on the other, to address the problems of quality and equity of access to educational opportunities at the basic education level in the system.

The Project focuses on the following strategies which were identified for priority actions in the OECS Education Reform Strategy:

  1. Sector Planning and Institutional Development;
  2. Qualitative Improvement of Basic Education;
  3. Expansion of Access to Secondary Education.

Thus at the national level, the Project seeks to promote and to support the on-going efforts of the OERU.

COST

The Project was originally estimated to cost US $12.838m, which includes US $3.061m Loan and Grant funds from the CDB, and US $6.728m Credit and Loan from the World Bank and US $3.048m from GOSL. (See Attachment 1 for breakdown of Project cost by component and by financier). These estimates are exclusive of contingencies (physical and price), interest and commitment charges and several items such as the purchase of land for civil works components, which GOSL is expected to fund. When these are factored in Project estimates amount to US $16.1m.

It is also worthy to note that GOSL is normally expected to meet cost overruns (not accommodated by contingencies) during project implementation. For example, the government has had to commit a further US $1.0m so far, towards additional costs of constructing the two secondary schools to be financed by the World Bank. This was due to high tender sums of non-resident pre-qualified contractors on the Soufriere Project.

PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION

Project Implementation commenced in September 1995, which was six (6) months after loan signing. This late start was due to extended delays by GOSL in meeting conditions precedent to loan effectiveness and conditions for Credit/Loan disbursements. The continued difficulty in keeping to agreements with donor agencies and in meeting conditionalities on the Government’s part is the principal reason for the delays in achieving planned targets to date. The situation has reached the stage where the World Bank has had to cease support for the expansion of access component (construction of secondary schools) as a means of forcing Government to implement certain agreed measures to strengthen the planning and development capacity of the Ministry of Education.

ACHIEVEMENTS

Despite the setbacks and difficulties mentioned above the Project has achieved to date, some critical milestones which will contribute significantly to the attainment of the anticipated goals and objectives. These are outlined below by major component:

  1. Sector Planning and Institutional Development

    • Established a Data Management Unit with computerised sector data;
    • Placed one fellow on graduate training in each of the areas, Statistics and Computing and Financial Management;
    • Secured approval for two fellows to pursue training in Educational Planning;
    • Trained key staff of the Project Management Unit in areas of procurement, disbursements, project management;
    • Employed Procurement expert;
    • Conducted a Management Audit of the Ministry of Education.

    2. Quality Improvement

    • Placed member of staff of DTEEA of SALCC in graduate teacher training programme;
    • Placed five (5) secondary school teachers in undergraduate programme in Mathematics and Science;
    • Trained two Curriculum Officers in Curriculum Design and Development in Science and Social Studies and enrolled another in the area of Mathematics;
    • Employed expert in Curriculum Design and Development to assist in reform of curricula;
    • Refurbished two classrooms at Castries Comprehensive and Corinth Secondary schools to be used as computer laboratories;
    • Trained one officer in Art Editing and Publishing and enrolled another in General Editing and Publishing;
    • Enrolled one fellow each in graduate programmes in Educational Testing and Measurement;
    • Trained one fellow at the graduate level in School Supervision and enrolled another;
    • Established new Testing and Examinations Unit;
    • Employed experts in School Supervision and School Effectiveness;
    • Completed tender package for construction of new education sub-office at Vieux-Fort and expansion of sub-office at Choiseul.

    3. Expanding Access

    • Commenced rehabilitation and repairs to fourteen (14) primary schools;
    • Awarded contracts for the construction of Soufriere Comprehensive and Laborie Secondary Schools;
    • Completed tender packages for the Anse Ger and Babonneau Secondary Schools.

    Additionally, a procurement plan (including the preparation of specification lists for all goods to be purchased) is being finalised. The process of securing expert services in the areas of Education Data Management, Testing and Measurement, Materials Production and Textbook Publishing is at an advanced stage.

    ISSUES AND CONCERNS

    Several matters have a debilitating effect on the pace of implementation efforts. These need to be resolved as a matter of urgency for the timely achievement of Project goals. These include:

    • Inadequate office accommodation at Ministry of Education for new and expanded offices and for visiting experts;
    • Delays in GOSL meeting Loan/Credit conditionalities and difficulties in keeping to Agreements;
    • Lack of ownership of the Project by Ministry of Education;
    • The inability of the Project Management Unit to draw down on loan funds from the World Bank for the construction of two secondary schools;
    • The unsatisfactory employment conditions and employment status of PMU staff;
    • Cost overruns in financing most aspects of the Project, in particular, the civil works and technical assistance components;


Overview of Selected Pilot Programmes, Planning Strategies and Innovations of the Past 20 Years, Suriname

INTRODUCTION

In this paper that has been prepared for the Eighth Regional Consultation Meeting of CARNEID, some information is provided with regard to pilot projects, planning strategies and innovations. During the past 20 years many initiatives have been undertaken to improve the effectivity and effectiveness, and thus the quality of education. Due to socio-economic and financial problems, as well as political instability, there were many set backs. Many initiatives could therefore not be executed properly.

A selection has been made of the most featuring activities in the country, successfully executed or not. All activities that have any relevance for the Ministry, have been mentioned. Just because of their relevances those activities can be carried out in the near future.

A summary of the difficulties which need an urgent solution is also presented. It must be observed though, that among other things, there are three major factors which may have a tremendous impact on the execution of programmes and projects.

Firstly, the present education budget will not be sufficient to carry out the intended programmes and projects. A relative increase in the share of the Ministry of Education in the national budget cannot be expected in the coming period. Therefore it is important to intensify cooperation with the existing bilateral ties, within various cultural treaties. Possibilities of engaging in bilateral cultural cooperation with friendly countries in the region and with other countries will be explored intensively.

Secondly, since most of the programmes and projects are financed by donor countries or donor agencies, the educational development can be jeopardized in case of discontinuation or expiration of the funding.

Thirdly, as a consequence of the financial crises, many qualified personnel left the Ministry, or the country (brain-drain). The institutional capacity of the Ministry needs to be strengthened.

On the other hand there are also factors for optimism. Firstly, the officials of the Ministry are aware of the problems they face. Secondly, within the staff of the Ministry there is still a core of dedicated individuals capable of guiding the process of educational improvement and, thirdly, after a period of high inflation, the economy is now stabilizing.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Education Policy

For a meaningful understanding of the recent developments in thinking, planning and action with regard to education in Suriname, it is important to go back to the period when Suriname gained its independence in 1975.

Prior to the independence, Suriname has been dependent on foreign countries (mostly Holland) for the definition of its educational content, syllabi, textbooks, and overall philosophy and structure of its educational system. Dutch assistance to the educational and the cultural sector has a long and outstanding tradition.

Since the independence in 1975, the country has given priority to the adaptation of the education system to its needs and priorities for development. It began to rethink the goals and the updating of its curricula and teaching methods. The first comprehensive educational sector study of Suriname was carried out in April 1978 by a team of UNESCO-experts and Suriname specialists. The result of this study was published by UNESCO under the title: "Education and Community Development - Analysis and Prospects". This document proved to be a useful framework for national planning and action beyond 1978. On the basis of this study another document was prepared in January 1979 under the title: Preparing for Change.

Among the program areas targeted at the reform of education were among other things: Curriculum Development, Education Research, Teacher Training, Social Educational Support Mechanisms and Services, Literacy, and Special Education.

While Suriname was planning to operationalise the document "Preparing for Change", the Regional Conference of Ministers of Education and those responsible for Economic Planning of Member States of Latin America and the Caribbean held in Mexico City in December 1997, unanimously adopted the Mexico-City Declaration. On that occasion the Member States appealed to UNESCO to take the initiative to put forward a major project designed to overcome the fundamental problems of education identified in the Mexico-City Declaration.

The Major Project was set up to promote and coordinate the joint efforts of the Member States in Latin America and the Caribbean to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Providing schooling for school-age children (6-14 years) and offering them a minimum general education of 8 to 10 grades/years.
  2. Eradication of illiteracy and development of educational services for Adults.
  3. Improvement of the quality and efficiency of the educational system by carrying out reforms.

The education policy of the past 20 years has been based on the three documents aforementioned. Although there have been many political changes in Suriname in the past 20 years, there has always been a consistency in the education policy. For the sake of clarity, the period 1975 to date can be divided as follows:

  1. 1974 - 1980:

    The period of political independence gained in 1975, charactarized by the reformulation of educational goals that are geared to the Suriname’s society.

  2. 1980 - 1987:

    The revolutionary period with among other things, political instability, guerilla activities in the interior, devastation of infrastructures and school facilities, financial constraints.

  3. 1987 - to date:

    The post revolutionary period, in which the country regained democracy. The Government democratically chosen succeeded in establishing a relatively high degree of political stability, and concentrated on finding solutions for the grave economic and social crisis which both the Government and people had to face.

The Suriname Government started negotiations with the Government of the Netherlands to assume the financial aid laid down in the Treaty of 1975.

Many plans have been made, but due to political, socio economical and mostly financial crises, most of the plans could not be executed properly.

Problems and Difficulties

As a consequence of the economic crisis and the political instability, education has fallen behind, especially in the interior. This problem has manifested itself in the lack of an adequate supply of educational materials, non-maintenance of the infrastructure, and even destructions in the interior, as well as the brain-drain from the educational sector. Qualified Surinamese have gone abroad, mostly to the Netherlands and, as a recent development, also to the Netherlands Antilles.

The main problem areas in the primary and secondary educational levels in Suriname can be summarized as follows:

  1. Lack of relevance of the knowledge delivered by the schools. This is primarily due to the fact that the content of the textbooks has not been adapted to the needs and reality of the country.

  2. Teaching deficiencies, i.e. the training received by the teachers was not adequate in terms of preparing them to use non-traditional methods.

  3. Lack of permanent system of evaluation of curricula and identification of necessary changes in the content of schooling.

  4. Furthermore, there is a lack of in-service teacher training to enable the teacher to keep abreast of these changes.

  5. High degree of selectivity of the system. As pointed, out the system is totally "testing-oriented", which results in a progressive elimination of students, or which relegates them to low quality schools. This problem becomes most acute after the last year of primary schooling.

The main difficulties can be summarized as follows:

  1. Maintenance of all educational facilities has fallen behind schedule.
  2. Serious shortage of educational materials for the different types of schools and for the libraries.
  3. Arrears in the interior with regard to the educational infrastructure.
  4. Students’ achievements in almost the whole educational sector are unsatisfactory. The number of students who fail or drop out is relatively high, both at primary and secondary level.
  5. Both senior and junior schools are characterized by a lack of sufficient qualified teachers. The training of teachers is insufficiently attuned to the practice. Refresher and upgrading courses for teachers are therefore imperative.
  6. Dutch is the official language of Suriname and thus of our educational system. For the majority of the population, however, another language than Dutch is the mother tongue, such as Sranan Tongo, Sarnami Hindi, Javanese, Saramaccan, Mataai, Ndjuka, one of the Amerindian languages or Chinese.
  7. General education gets relatively too much emphasis within the educational system. Vocational education is undervalued and underdeveloped.
  8. Education is insufficiently geared toward the needs of the labour market. Although our country is faced with a high unemployment percentage (37%), no qualified personnel is available for certain professional categories.
  9. Training possibilities in the agricultural sector are limited and are absent at junior secondary level.
  10. The possibilities of horizontal entry into formal education are very limited. General education offers some possibilities to continue towards vocational education. Within the different types of junior vocational training, there are not many possibilities to continue. The existing vertical transitions are complicated and too little flexible.
  11. Young people who have dropped out hardly have any alternative. More facilities offering education for mature students (second chance education) or adult education could possibly be useful.

Financial Constraints and the Consequences for Education

The ministry annually receives a share of the national budget and also receives financial support from donors, mostly from the Netherlands. In 1975 a Treaty for Development Cooperation was agreed upon between the Republic of Suriname and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, providing Suriname with investment funds in grants amounting to Sf 3.5 billion over a period of 10 to 15 years.

A large portion of these funds were also directed to education.

Suriname’s economic performance deteriorated markedly in the 1980s owing to a worsening of its terms of trade and the failure to take corrective policy actions. This weakening was exacerbated by the suspension in late 1982 of development assistance from the Netherlands following reports of human rights violations, and guerilla activity against the Government.

The worsening of the economy through the years undoubtedly had consequences for the education sector. The education share of the national budget has been declining after 1989. In 1989, education received the unusually high share, being 29.6%. In 1993, education received 16.24% of the national budget. That dropped to 10.75% in 1994 and dropped again to 6.29% in 1995.

High inflation during the lat 1980s and early 1990s, hyperinflation during 1993, and an eventual 10:1 devaluation of the Surinamese guilder seriously eroded real wages [-and the morale-] of teachers and civil servants. Many of them left the education system or even the country (brain-drain) which caused a further weakening of the institutional capacity.

Although it seems that the economy is stabilizing now after a period of high inflation, the current economic crisis and the lack of sufficient qualified personnel are factors which cause stagnation. In seeking solutions to these problems, it will be necessary to observe priorities.

OVERVIEW OF SOME SELECTED PROGRAMMES AND PROJECTS

PERIOD 1975 - 1987

  1. Project Renewal Curricula Primary Education (PVCB)

    Efforts to systematically and comprehensively renew the curricula of education started even before independence in 1975. In those days a start was made with the renewal of the content of language syllabuses of primary education, to be followed by syllabuses of history. Gradually these efforts have been materialized within a project to innovate the entire Suriname Education. It consisted of the development of national mechanisms for educational development with curriculum changes as its main task. The mechanisms were to be developed via change agents, who would train members of the education community, providing teachers with skills to successfully participate in the renewal of curriculum and educational development processes. UNESCO provided assistance in these efforts.

    The ministry started the educational reform with the premise that the reform of education is the reform of the curriculum.

    In 1981 a new section, Curriculum Development, was set up within the Main Division for Development Services. Between 1981 - 1985, the PVCB was responsible for the standard, principles, and objectives of primary education to lay a basis for the creation of new curricula for this type of education. After piloting of the developed curricula, the implementation on a national scale was started in October 1984.

  2. Project: to Improve the Quality of Primary Education

    Until February 1993, a loan was granted by the IDB to carry out a MINOV/IDB project to improve the quality of primary education. The overall objective of this programme was to contribute to the improvement of the quality and effectiveness of the present primary educational system and to build a Learning Resource Centre. Unfortunately, not all components of this project have been utilized satisfactorily.

  3. Project: National Plan for Education

    In the past 20 years several attempts have been made for the formulation of a National Plan for Education. Due to political instability these attempts were discontinued almost four times. A project proposal in the framework of the direct cooperation between the Ministry of Education in Suriname and that of the Netherlands, has been approved to carry out the activities in order to produce a National Plan.

  4. Project: Multi-disciplinary Counselling

    In 1984 a new approach towards school guidance was introduced: a multi-disciplinary counselling team responsible for a number of schools in each geographical section of the school zones. The team was made up of educators/didacticians, ortho-pedagogues, development psychologists, social workers, and speech therapists.

    Although this new approach was applauded by almost all the relevant groups in education, due to financial and man-power problems, the project was discontinued in 1987.

  5. Project: Training Programme for Teachers in the Interior

    Suriname is confronted with the problem that only a few of the newly trained teachers of the Teacher Training Colleges are willing to teach in the interior. Therefore, the ministry of Education is recruiting and training teachers for the interior on a continuous basis.

  6. Project: Integration of Education and Productive Work

    After studies and preparation of many years, this project was started in 1981 as a pilot project in the village of DAN in the district of Sipaliwini. The main objective of this project was to introduce a Community Development through Education. Besides the academic subjects, the pupils were trained in keeping the physical facilities of the school in good repair. They were also engaged in school gardening and raising of small domestic animals. The community activities were directed toward basic health, family and life education. Owing, among other things, to infrastructural problems, this project was discontinued in 1983. New initiatives are now undertaken to make a restart with this project.

  7. Project: Educational Broadcasting

    Educational broadcasting was started in the late seventies on a small scale with the aim to enrich both teaching and learning experiences. In October 1982 the schools were nation-wide provided with radios and cassette recorders.

    Although the broadcasting activities have been carried out through the years, it must be mentioned that many schools do not benefit these days from the school radio programme. In many schools the radio is out of order or has disappeared and because of budget limitations, the Ministry of Education cannot provide the schools with new receivers.

  8. Project: Promotion of Parent Teacher Association

    In the eighties more than 60 parents associations were set up with which the Ministry of Education has had a fruitful relationship and which have positively contributed to the educational process. Since the active members of the management team of this project left the country, this project has been discontinued.

Period 1987 to Date

The Education Development Programmes and Projects as indicated in the Multi Annual Development Programme of the Planning Bureau of Suriname, can be distinguished into seven sub-programmes, namely:

  1. Guaranteed continuity of education
  2. Quality improvement of education
  3. Re-orientation of education to production and production increase
  4. Study financing
  5. Improved management apparatus for education
  6. Youth and student housing
  7. Literacy programme

The investment budget amounts to approx. Sf.221 million, with a foreign currency component of approx. Nf. 166 million. The sub-programme for guaranteeing the continuity of education has the largest portion of both the investment budget (to approx. Sf.70 million, i.e. 32%) and the foreign currency component (to approx. Nf. 57 million, i.e. 34%).

Ad (I) Programme to guarantee the continuity of education

The investment budget amounts to approx. Sf.70 million, with a foreign currency component of approx. Nf. 57 million. The programme contains the provision in educational resources for primary level, junior secondary level, senior secondary level, and higher vocational level. Repair of educational accommodations and equipment in town, districts and interior (approx. 160 schools) is also included in this programme.

Ad (ii) Programme for quality improvement of education

The programme has been budgeted for approx. Sf.27 million with a foreign currency component of approx. Nf. 19 million. The most urgent parts of this programme comprise provisions in the field of instruments, equipment, laboratory necessities, parts and technical installations, audio-visual (re)productions, the purchase of learning aids and special literature for education and research at the University of Suriname and its research institutes.

Another urgent project is the procurement of books for the General Education Library, the libraries of the University, the Cultural Centre, and the Suriname Museum. The programme for re-training and upgrading teachers is intended to increase the teaching skills of the target groups of some 2800 junior and senior secondary school teachers.

Ad (iii) Programme for the orientation of education to production and increase of productivity

The budget of this programme is approx. Sf. 47 million with a foreign currency component of approx. Nf. 27 million. This programme aims at giving support to the orientation of formal education to production and production increase by strengthening the relationship between trade and industry and vocational education. It involves the introduction of a student system, the establishment of an agricultural stream at junior pre-vocational level, setting up new courses for farmers in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, and setting up practice centres for agricultural and technical education.

Another important part of this programme is the s strengthening of the economics and law studies at our university.

Ad (iv) Study financing programme

This programme has been estimated at approx. Sf. 45 million with a foreign currency component of 100%. The programme involves the financing of studies abroad for bursary students. Some important criteria are that the studies cannot be followed in Suriname and that the studies concerned should fit in with the national need for higher executives.

Ad (v) Programme for the improvement of management of the Ministry

This programme is estimated at approx. Sf. 12 million with a foreign currency component of approx. Nf. 10 million. It concerns institutional strengthening for the support of project development and the establishment of a computer centre for the entire Ministry of Education. Ad (vi) Youth and student housing centre

The budget amounts to approx. Sf.18 million with a foreign currency component of approx. Nf. 8 million. The programme comprises mainly construction components. Renovation of the existing and establishment and furnishing of a new student housing centre, intended to accommodate students who live far from Paramaribo.

Ad (vii) Literacy programme

This programme is aimed at that part of the population that cannot read and write, and it has been budgeted for approx. Sf. 1.5 million with a foreign currency component of approx. Nf. 0.15 million.

Development of Education Co-operation between Suriname and the Netherlands

Discussions with the Government of the Netherlands have resulted in the restoration of the relations between the two countries. Suriname has signed a "Framework Treaty for Friendship and Closer Co-operation" with the Government of the Netherlands, which has resulted in the re-establishment of the development co-operation between our countries.

The report of the identification mission for technical cooperation in the field of education, entitled "Education in Suriname" forms the framework for the policy on education cooperation with the Netherlands. In this report some 27 projects have been identified, for which a first global estimation was made, which has led to reserving Nf. 135 million from the treaty funds for some 18 projects.

What follows is a complete overview of the education projects, 11 of which are in the stage of execution.

  1. Making up the arrears in the libraries
  2. Making up the arrears in educational materials
  3. Establishment and equipment of a new student housing centre
  4. Improvement of facilities in existing student housing centres
  5. Making up arrears in maintenance of and equipment in schools
  6. Repairs of educational facilities in the interior
  7. Establishment of a computer centre for the Ministry of Education
  8. Support for project development and implementation
  9. Implementation of an improved relationship vocational education/trade and industry
  10. Financing of studies abroad
  11. Programme development and procurement of educational resources for practical skills at primary school
  12. Reorganization of vocational education
  13. Agricultural courses and practice centres
  14. Establishment of an agricultural stream in the curricula of junior vocational schools
  15. Re-training and upgrading of teachers
  16. Making up the arrears in equipment for the Medical Faculty
  17. Making up the arrears in equipment for the Technological Faculty
  18. Cooperation in higher education
  19. Strengthening of the economics and law faculties at the University of Suriname
  20. Establishment of a discipline Business, Administration and Management

UNICEF

Although UNICEF has been active in Suriname for many years, it is just the beginning of this year that the Ministry of Education started discussions with UNICEF in order to seek finance for small projects. After a period of preparation and discussion, 6 projects were submitted to UNICEF in July of this year. These projects already have been approved and very soon a start can be made with the execution of the projects. The projects are:

  1. Project: Upgrading expertise for 15 school counsellors and 12 inspectors.

    The goals of this project is to upgrade the knowledge, skills and ability of the school counsellors and the inspectors, as they can be seen as the special agents for the quality of education.

  2. Project: Curriculum Development for Pre-school (4-year)

    The goal of this project is to finalize the development activities and deliver the first part of the manuscript of the Play- and Workplan for the 4 years old, to the printer.

  3. Project: Early Identification of High Risk Readers

    The main goal of this project is to provide training to the teachers of Special Education in order to make them capable to cope with reading problems. Thus, this training should result in a better diagnosis and treatment of reading problems. In the long run it should also reduce the number of children directed to Special Education.

  4. Project: Auditive Training for Pre-primary and Primary Schools

    The goal of this project is to provide (auditive) training to 38 teachers of 10 pre-primary schools, 29 teachers of 10 primary schools and 33 headmasters of these schools. By providing this training it is hoped that teachers of the pre-primary schools will work in close cooperation with the teachers of the primary schools in order to exchange ideas and information about their work and their pupils. This training will also provide the teachers with "special skills" in how to use auditive tests.

  5. Project: Review Primary School Curriculum and Materials

    The goals of this project are:

    • to gather information with regard to the use of developed curricula in the primary school.
    • to select, in cooperation with the education field, the methods which need immediate revision.
    • to set up the necessary mechanism to revise the selected methods.

  6. Project: Provision of basic materials for refurbishing schools in the districts of Sipaliwini and Marowigne

    This project is directed towards the renovation of the school of Manlobi and Mooitaki.

  7. Project: Basic Health and Family Life Education

    This CARICOM Health and Family Life Education Project is a multi-agency initiative. The vision of this CARICOM project is to develop in young people skills, attitudes and values to enable them to take more control of their health and lifestyle choices. The Ministry has appointed in March of this year an inter-ministerial committee for the necessary preparatory steps.

Islamic Development Bank

Suriname became a member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in December 1996 and is now in the process of seeking membership of the Islamic Development Bank. In close cooperation with experts of the bank, the following 5 projects have been submitted to the Islamic Development Bank for financing in April of this year:

  • Expansion and modernising headoffice of the Ministry of Education (US$1.5 million)
  • Learning Resource Centre (US$1.5 million)
  • Construction of 4 schools (US$750,000)
  • Modernizing Junior Secondary Schools (US$ 2 million)
  • Renovation and modernizing NATIN/LTS (US$1 million)

After the final approval, the execution of some of the projects will start at the end of this year.

Non-Governmental Organisations

(i) SUCET

The Suriname Centre for Educational Research Counselling and Training (SUCET) started some years ago with activities in a couple of schools in socially disadvantaged environments. The main objective is to create better educational opportunities aimed at the improvement of the achievements and reduction of the repetition rate of children from socially deprived backgrounds.

According to the reports of the director of SUCET, the results of the pilot projects so far, have been encouraging.

(ii) Central Heating

Disappointing results of students of one of the Training Colleges for Teachers, their lack of motivation and their poor overall skills, careless attitude, have led the (female) teachers of this College to establish a so-called "Central Heating Group". The main purpose of this group is to give warmth/affection to the students in order to change their attitude towards study in general and their professional training as a teacher in particular. Another objective is to introduce the system of Self-government of schools.

The main aim is to deliver teachers (in the future) that can easily improvise, that are flexible and can fully make use of their potentials and capabilities. So far the Central Heating Group has built with their own initiatives a "student room" where the students can spend their spare time and where other educational activities can be realised. From their contacts in the Netherlands they have already received 10 computers and very soon a start will be made with computer education in the College.

In order to increase the overall development of the students and in order also to get the community involvement in the institution, the Central Heating Group has also organized workshops, "do-workshops", work weekends, study days, fundraising activities, etc.

Because of the satisfying results of the schoolyear 1996/1997 (82.4% of the students passed the schoolyear with good results) the commission "Central Heating" will continue with their working method and expand their activities to other Training Colleges for teachers.

PLANNING STRATEGIES

In the field of Policy and Planning, the following initiatives can be definitely stated:

(i) Establishment of an "EDUCATION RESONANCE GROUP"

After the restoration of the relations between Suriname and the Netherlands, the two countries signed a "Framework Treaty for Friendship and Closer Co-operation". Within the framework of the bilaterally cooperation between Suriname and the Netherlands, for the educational and cultural sector, a new dimension has been added since November 1995, in the sense that there exists direct cooperation at ministerial level between the Ministry of Education and Community Development in Suriname and that of the Netherlands. This cooperation is of the utmost significance since its aim is to speed-up the procedures in the implementation of small projects, from submission of a project proposal to allocation of the budget.

This ministerial cooperation has resulted in the establishment of an "Education Resonance Group" in both countries in September 1993. The Education Resonance Group of Suriname fulfilled a very important liaison function between the representatives of the so-called educational field and the policy makers. For many years there have been complaints with regard to communication with policy makers at the Ministry. The Ministry has an extensive central structure, but very little communication with the schools. Formal channels of communication between schools and the central ministry are weak.

The Surinamese Education Resonance Group has identified 27 projects after consultation with the education field. The Dutch Resonance Group has functioned as a counterpart and as resource body. For the educational projects that have been identified by this "Resonance Group", an amount of 5million Dutch guilders has been made available for three years, starting with 1996, for small projects to address educational problems.

The 27 projects have been formulated, most of which are approved and are in a stage of further preparation or implementation. These projects are:

  1. Support 5 Ministry working groups for policy preparation/formulation.
  2. Evaluation Curricula Primary Education.
  3. Curriculum development according to modular system for Junior Secondary Vocational Education.
  4. Revision, production and implementation of the textbook: "Tekst en Uitleg" for Senior Secondary Schools.
  5. Development of a new method for education in Literature for Dutch.
  6. Innovation Arithmetic for Teach Training Colleges.
  7. Development of a method for Commerce for the MULO.
  8. Renewal of History education in Suriname.
  9. Initiating Remedial Teaching.
  10. Challenging the brains (Children can achieve more).
  11. Second chance education.
  12. In-service training teachers of the Institute for Advanced Teacher Training, Senior Secondary and Junior Secondary Schools.
  13. In-service training teachers of Primary Schools.
  14. Upgrading principals Primary Schools and Junior Secondary Schools.
  15. Introduction of Self Government of Senior Secondary Schools.
  16. Upgrading skills of the inspectors.
  17. Upgrading quality personnel of the Ministry.
  18. Upgrading of the personnel of Research and Planning.
  19. Reactivating MINOV Home Printing Unit.
  20. Upgrading skills of personnel of Physical Education.
  21. Upgrading personnel of Testing and Examination.
  22. Upgrading Schoolradio.
  23. Upgrading speech therapist.
  24. Re-introduction Training fro Special Education.
  25. Establishing Training Programma voor Office Practice, Selling Practice and type-writing.
  26. Establishment of 2 computer centres.
  27. Upgrading Teachers for music education Primary Schools.

Apart from the NF 5 million, an additional NF 1 million has been made available for the following projects:

  1. Strengthening Higher Vocational Education: Establishment of a Polytechnic College
  2. Strengthening Technical College
  3. Agriculture Education
  4. Transportation of pupils in the district of Marowijne
  5. Institutional strengthening of the Burau for Legal Affairs.

(ii) The National institute for Laboru and Occupational Schooling (NISAB)

In order to realize structural communication between the Ministry and the Labour market, the Ministry of Education has established NISAB in September 1993 Representatives of the Ministry, Trade and Industry, and workers’ unions participate in this body and work together to help ensure that (a) graduates have the basic knowledge and skills required to enter the workforce and (b) more private sector opportunities are created. The NISAB functions as liaison between vocational education and trade and industry. This makes it possible to translate the demand into the curricula of the vocational training.

The NISAB will continuously attune the needs of the labour market to education in cooperation with the schools.

CONCLUSION

In the past 20 years Suriname has planned and undertaken many initiatives to carry out an Education Reform. Due to i.e. political instability and socio-economic and financial problems, the country did not fully succeed in its attempts.

In view of the new insights into an efficient education planning and management, and the implementation of action plans (projects) to achieve education development, planning and management will need to be adjusted. The institutional and execution capacity of the Ministry need to be strengthened.

Education planning comprises the application of a rational analysis of the process of education development, aimed at having education meet the objectives laid down as effectively and efficiently as possible, and thus also meet the demands of the students (pupils) and society. Like all small countries, and most certainly those of the Third World, our country will have to take into account the limitations of a small population. Suriname will also have to take into account that it has a small education budget. A relative increase in the share of the Ministry of Education in the national budget cannot be expected in the coming period. More attention will be given to development projects and to making up for the arrears in the provision of educational materials, the maintenance of school buildings and equipment and the provision of library books.

The available human-power, including the middle and higher executives, are now scant and will remain so in the near future. For countries like ours with a small population, adapted planning mechanisms will have to be designed, even more than is the case now.

It will become increasingly difficult to recruit and retain qualified personnel unless the compensation and conditions of employment is improved.


The Pre-Service Teacher Training Programme, Trinidad & Tobago

An effective teacher is priceless. The word "teacher" conjures up ideal thoughts and actions as demonstrated by Jesus, a Guru, an Imam, a Mother Teresa, or other visionaries of excellence in civil society. At the same time it must be borne in mind that teaching is demanding, exciting and very gratifying. Therefore, the recruitment and pre-service (initial) training of teachers ought to be given pride of place in the development of an educational system that espouses quality basic education for all by the year 2000.

The Pre-Service Training Programme evolved out of one of the proposals of the Ministry of Education at the 1993 National Symposium on Employment and Job Creation which called for the training of CXC and ‘A’ Level graduates as Teaching Assistants. In Trinidad and Tobago the minimum qualifications for recruitment into Primary teaching is Five CXC General level Grades I and II only, with English, Mathematics and a Science subject as a compulsory core. At the Secondary level the minimum requirement is two ‘A’ Level passes (preference is given to ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ grades).

In 1997 there are approximately seven thousand (7,000) primary teachers for one hundred and eighty five thousand (185,000) students and five thousand (5,000) secondary teachers for one hundred and thirty five thousand (135,000) students. There is an annual attrition rate of approximately two hundred and fifty (250) primary teachers and two hundred and fifty (250) secondary teachers. The 1997/1998 Pre-Service Training Programme has two hundred and sixty (260) primary and ninety (90) secondary novitiates. The cost of the programme is three million (TT) dollars per year.

The Pre-Service Training Programme for teachers was more popularly known as O.J.T. [On the Job Training] during the period 1993-1996. It is essentially an Apprenticeship Programme with a unique model of professional development which integrates Pre-Service Preparation with an In-Service component, designed to facilitate the implementation process.

This design or scheme of the Pre-Service Training Programme provides its clientele with an initiation into the theoretical underpinnings of education, with specific reference to teaching and learning, and the implications of this for practical application. The programme provides the first step in the career-path of the novitiate. It is personal as well as professional development intended to foster commitment and develop pedagogical competence in the recruits of the Teaching Apprenticeship Scheme.

In these times of structural adjustment and the need for sustainable development, a programme of this nature becomes relevant - because it is a contribution to human resource development and the concomitant consequences of personal and professional growth, as well as, institutional strengthening, both at the local and national level.

Against this background, this innovation in education in Trinidad and Tobago, has as its rationale the following expected outcomes.

It is hoped that the novitiates will:

  • Become computer literate;
  • Develop a personal philosophy of teaching;
  • Value and practise exemplary teaching;
  • Develop and apply knowledge and understanding of curriculum and instruction;
  • Work collaboratively with supervisory personnel, colleagues, students and the school community, in a responsible and humane manner;
  • Be committed to self-improvement, life-long learning and reflective thinking;
  • Become agents of educational and social development;
  • Work with all students in an equitable, effective and caring manner, respecting diversity in relation to culture, ethnicity, gender and special needs.

This programme is managed by a full time co-ordinator and one clerk/typist. The Director of Educational Services chairs a committee which draws its membership from Curriculum and Supervisory staff, the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association, Primary and Secondary Principals’ Associations and a representative of the National Training Agency [formerly National Training Board]. This committee provides ‘leadership’ and ‘architecture’ and is accountable to the Chief Education Officer for the attainment of the programme’s outcomes.

Briefly, the logistical details of the programme are as follows. The time frame extends from August to May with five major activities.

  1. An Induction Phase which begins in mid August, continues every Saturday and terminates in the Easter holidays in mid April.

  2. Placement in Schools with a mentor teacher - first in the Infant Department in Term I during the period September to December, then assignment to the Junior Department during Term II, January to April. At the secondary level there is subject specialisation and one stays with the Mentor Teacher’s timetable.

  3. A Vacation School in the Aesthetic Areas, organised by the Curriculum Officers is delivered during ten days of the Easter Vacation. Each trainee chooses two of the following: Art & Craft, Music, Drama/Dance and Physical Education.

  4. Saturday Classes for trainees from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon are conducted after the Induction phase at various centres in the eight Educational Districts. The secondary novitiates have two centres, North and South.

  5. Computer Training. All Trainees are given an opportunity to become computer literate. This programme is delivered through the use of eight computer laboratories in different geographical areas and is delivered between the hours of 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm in the weekdays and on Saturday afternoons. There is a minimum of twenty five hours for every trainee.

It should be noted that during the entire period of Apprenticeship, any one trainee is affected by at least twelve master teachers.

The first fifteen days of the Induction Phase are most important. There are two sessions each day. The morning session treats the Foundations of Education and the afternoon session addresses two curriculum areas - Mathematics and Reading. The day’s activities begin promptly at 8:30 am and end at 3:00 pm.

Perhaps it should be stated that the Induction is really an exploratory phase, designed to provide participants with an exposure to theoretical and pedagogical knowledge. The Foundations of Education clarifies concepts such as Education, Teaching and Learning, Classroom Management, Motivation and School Culture and Organisation. In the two Curriculum areas of Reading and Mathematics, apprentices are sensitised to the aims and objectives, content, methodology, resources and evaluation in these subjects. The instructional materials for a significant part of the programme are contained in a packet. [See Appendix I]

Among the major items in the Evaluation Process are the following:

  1. The Trainee’s Diary

  2. Regularity, Punctuality and Participation at the entire Induction Component of the Programme

  3. Participation in the Aesthetic’s Programme

  4. Assignments

  5. Mentor Teacher’s Report

  6. Written Examinations

  7. Computer Literacy.

The success of this programme depends significantly on the predispositions which the participants bring to bear on this educational effort. The teachers of tomorrow’s schools and indeed tomorrow’s world, have the moral imperative to use their initiative, imagination and creativity to experiment and innovate; to be open to new ideas, to self-evaluate and to be prepared for the noble task of creating school cultures that are conducive to the growth of excellence, and quality education.

If teachers envisage that the role they must play is a synthesis of different orientations to education, then they must use all the resources at their command in the service of providing education for academic excellence, self-actualisation and social reconstruction.

All endeavours to professionalise teaching must have at its very centre a moral and ethical dimension. According to Michael Fullan, of the Centre for Teacher Development, at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education:

"To have any chance at making teaching a noble and attractive profession, teachers must combine the imperative of moral purpose, with the skills necessary for productive change."

The programme faces five major challenges. First of all, there is need to:

  1. Formalise the activity by making it a legal requirement for an appointment in the teaching service;
  2. Redesign teacher training in the form of a credit system to reward achievement at this pre-service level and contribute to the teachers’ college certificate;
  3. Add financial resources to increase the number of trainees for the secondary system;
  4. Recognise the mentor teachers either through financial remuneration or certificates or both;
  5. Heed this sobering paragraph written by Dr. Barry Hobart of University of South Australia:

"Gone are the days of a job for life. Gone is the comfortable knowledge that once we have completed our training, the state or a big company will provide us with work. What we are facing now is the prospect of four or five different locations, and most likely punctuated by varying periods of unemployment."

In conclusion, let us remember that the provision of effective initial and continuing education for teachers is our best guarantee that quality basic education for all will be our experience in the next millennium.

APPENDIX I

Broadsheets and Booklets in Trainee’s Packet of Instructional Materials.

  1. Readings for Young Teachers
  2. The Importance of Reading
  3. Paedocentricism
  4. Pre-Service Teacher Training Programme Core Curriculum - PRIMARY
  5. Mathematics
  6. Reading/Language Arts
  7. Booklet No. 1 - SECONDARY
  8. Teacher Development


The Teachers' Resource Centre, Anguilla

The Government of Anguilla recognises that the successful implementation of any education reform depends on well-qualified staff to implement the instructional programmes and to manage the system (State Policy 1996). Simultaneously, the Government concurs with Bush and Middewood (1997: viii) that it is vitally important for the adults to be considered both on personal and professional levels ‘if the emphasis on care for students is not to be exposed as meaningless, or hypocritical rhetoric”. Therefore, much time and effort have been invested in the Teachers’ Resource Centre to ensure that present and long term goals of education are met.

In view of this, the main focus of this presentation is on the pivotal role of the Teachers’ Resource Centre in enabling the professional and personal development of the teachers and educational personnel.

The Anguilla Teachers’ Resource Centre is a multi-purpose unit of the Ministry and Department of Education. It provides a range of specialist facilities, primarily to support the in-service training and professional development of all partners in the Education System; to promote the development, implementation and evaluation of the curriculum; and to be an integral part of the process of improving the quality of teaching and learning in all sectors of the Anguillian community.

The Principles and Values of the Teachers’ Resource Centre

The Teachers’ Resource Centre is more than a building that houses audiovisual equipment, books and reprographics facilities. It is the focal point, a network of support for all professionals in the Education Service who are committed to the process of improving the quality of learning and teaching in Anguilla.

The Teachers’ Resource Centre is a place that all educators and teachers in particular regard as their own. They, along with all the partners in the Education Sector have access to the information, resources and services at the centre. All users are encouraged to engage in critical self reflection. They obtain much encouragement and support in their research activities. All areas of education are considered important. As such, all educators are of equal importance and their contributions to the development activities are accepted as valuable. Additionally, work is conducted in the spirit of partnership, cooperation and trust. In order to provide an effective support service and to respond to the current trends in education, the role of the centre is received continually.

The Aims of the Anguilla Teachers’ Centre

The primary aim of the Anguilla Teachers’ Centre is to provide support to the Ministry and Department of Education in improving the quality of teaching and learning in schools and to all other colleagues who are engaged in the education process. In addition, it aims to:

  1. Assist in the:

    • improvement, evaluation and review of the existing provision for curriculum and professional staff development.
    • identification of curriculum and staff development needs and programmes.
    • monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of the curriculum and staff development programme.

  2. Provide:

    • an information and reference service with special reference to education, in conjunction with the National Library Service.
    • teaching materials and resources production facilities, to support the implementation of the curriculum in the schools.
    • a model for the guidance and training of persons in the organization and utilization of the Schools’ Resource Centres in conjunction with the Schools’ Library Service.
    • support to individuals with a view to promote professional competence and confidence.
    • all educators with the opportunity to contribute to the growth and development of education.

  3. Establish and maintain a collection of audiovisual materials for reference and for loan in conjunction with the National Library.

  4. Create a forum for discussion, planning and development of education in Anguilla.

  5. Promote the effective use of the resources and the training of the users.

Functions of the Anguilla Teachers’ Centre

It supports the Ministry and Department of Education in the Curriculum and Staff Development Plans.

It provides:

  1. a Conference Centre/meeting place for a variety of activities
  2. an information service for all its users
  3. teaching/learning materials and equipment for use in the schools
  4. training for the organization, management and use of the Resource Centres in the schools
  5. publication facilities for teaching and training materials
  6. an Educational Library.
  7. a base for Support Teachers and professionals.
  8. support in educational, cultural and social services to the Anguilla Public Service and the Anguillian Community in general.

Facilities at the Teachers’ Centre

Conference Facilities

There are three rooms which can be booked for conferences, meetings, courses and workshops. The rooms offer accommodation for groups of all sizes from 2 - 150 persons. They can be set out informally, in boardroom or theatre style.

Audiovisual aids which include, overhead projectors, screens and flip charts, a video camera radio cassette recorders and monitors are available on request.

The Curriculum Development Unit

The curriculum development unit comprises current materials and resources to develop and implement the curriculum and to give support to teachers’ in-service and professional development needs. The unit contains not only books, but also teaching aids, teaching packs, teaching equipment and resources.

Video Editing Suite

The Teachers’ Centre houses a video and sound recording and editing suite. It is used by the staff of the Library and Teachers’ Resource Centre, teachers and pupils. It enables locally produced videos to be transformed into high class polished education resources. Training is available for those persons who are not familiar with the equipment. A photographic dark room provides further audiovisual facilities for the production of educational materials. At present, the latter service is not being offered as it is in the process of being reorganised.

Education Library

The Education Library comprises of books, journals, maps, cassette tapes, compact discs/records, opaque, overhead and slide projectors; television set, video-cassette recorder, computer, video tapes. Books and non-book resources are available for loan. These may be borrowed on individual teachers’ cards or as a part of a school project pack. The library also offers a quiet place for persons to engage in research and study.

Multi-Professional Support Services

The main office for these services is housed at the Teachers’ Resource Centre. From there, the services of the following personnel can be obtained:

  1. Educational Psychologist
  2. Special Needs Coordinator
  3. School Welfare Officers
  4. Guidance Counsellors
  5. School Nurses
  6. Reading Recovery Coordinator

Schools’ Reprographic Service

A reprographic service is available to schools. This includes not only photocopying, typing, stapling and binding but also assistance with the design and layout of work. This may range from the production of transparencies to the creation of a newsletter or school magazine.

Catering

A very important part of most in-service courses are the refreshments. The Teachers’ Centre does NOT offer catering services, but provides accommodation for light refreshments.

Views of Education Personnel

It would be inappropriate to end this paper without including the thoughts and feelings of the education personnel and teachers for whom the centre was established. Generally, they are satisfied with the services offered. The words of one of our teachers, Mrs. Rita Carty, add a finishing touch to this presentation. They clearly sum up the views of most users of the Teachers’ Resource Centre.

‘The Teachers’ Resource Centre can be seen as a mecca for all pre-, primary and secondary school teachers. It provides access to a wide range of equipment and materials that can be exploited to produce learning aids. While working on these aids, teachers may participate in professional discussions with other colleagues engaged in similar tasks. In this way, ideas can be clarified and shared. In addition, although there is room for improvement in this area, the resource centre offers materials that assist teachers in the conducting of research, enhancing of knowledge and skills and in preparing for professional examinations. This particular aspect of the centre appeals to me most.’


Training in Essential Skills, Netherlands Antilles

The Netherlands Antilles is a group of five islands located in the Caribbean Sea. Two (Curaçao and Bonaire) are situated near the coast of Venezuela and the mainland of South America. The other three, St. Maarten, Sint Eustatius and Saba are situated near the US Virgin Islands. Because of their location, the first two islands are also denominated the Leeward Islands while the other three are also known as the Windward Islands.

The Netherlands Antilles is an equal partner with Aruba and the Netherlands in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is fully autonomous in internal affairs and it has a parliamentary democracy and two government levels, the central and the island governments.

The educational system is somewhat different in the various islands. Four of the five islands are organized in the same form as the Dutch educational system. The island of St. Maarten has also features of the American and Caribbean school systems. Saba’s educational system prepares its students to sit for the examination of the Caribbean Examination Council. Education is managed at two different levels for administrative purposes through federal and insular departments of education. The federal government is responsible for inter alia the organization of the educational system, the maintenance of quality on each island, policy development and legislation. The insular governments are responsible for among other things the implementation of policy and the financing of education.

Training in Essential Skills

The target of training in essential skills according to UNESCO (1998:24) is the “expansion of provisions of basic education and training in other essential skills required by youth and adults with program effectiveness assessed in terms of behavioral changes and impacts on health, employment and productivity.” Training in essential skills therefore encompasses a broad range of learning activities that has as it’s goal the delivery of “knowledge, skills and attitudes that are necessary for young people and adults in their everyday lives, in their work, and in order to improve their quality of life”. These programs tend to extend beyond the normal giving of basic1 education and instruction in attempting to provide those types of learning activities whose impression can be seen in behavioral change, betterment of health, increased employment rates and productivity. These types of programs give students sensible competence and expertise and also give them power “by raising their awareness and duties as citizens, workers and parents”. Generally the government sponsors these programs, ngo’s, churches and the private business sector.

There are ten areas that should be considered in the process of providing training in essential skills in basic education. They should be taken into account in both in and out of school activities. These areas in which students should receive training are:

  1. Respect the sanctity of life and value human dignity.
  2. Strengthen democracy and respect human rights.
  3. Promote and maintain stable families.
  4. Adopt healthier physical, mental and emotional lifestyles.
  5. Recognize and affirm gender equality and respect gender differences.
  6. Value religious and ethnic diversity.
  7. Respect their cultural heritage and that of others.
  8. Lead productive lives and take advantage of economic opportunities.
  9. Use creativity and technology to sustain personal, social and economic development.
  10. Resolve conflicts peacefully and promote a culture of peace.

Because of legislation in the Netherlands Antilles it is not easy to find timeslots in the school schedules to provide additional training. For that reason it is noted that the out-of-school activities exceeded the in-school activities. In analyzing the activities that took place it becomes apparent that even though many activities took place, very little quantitative and empirical information has been attained. According to Country Report Netherlands Antilles Education for All 2000 (1999) this was due to:

  • The fact that the country was not used to collecting and updating data of achieved activities;
  • Lack of necessary knowledge and skills in order to update information and to implement periodic evaluations.
  • Lack of adequate resources with which to gather the data and lack of administrative personnel resulting in one and the same person doing all the activities.

During the process of analyzing data it was noted that both the in school and out-of-school activities where mainly directed to the youth and women. The reason being the many difficulties they are confronted such as “drugs, criminality, and the increasing number of teenage pregnancies (Country Report Netherlands Antilles Education For All 2000, 1999:69). These problems indicate a decline in morals and values. A situation that is not confined to the Netherlands Antilles alone but one that is rather a global phenomenon. International developments, the influence of the media, economic decline and social developments all have their negative effect on the youth.

Following is an overview of some of the activities done in the Netherlands Antilles to provide training in essential skills both in school and out of school.

  1. Respect the sanctity of life and value human dignity

    In all the primary schools of Sint Maarten a social studies project was done focusing on this aspect. In Bonaire religious and social science classes are used to teach the students to respect life and to value human dignity. One notable program in Bonaire was the Lions Quest program. This program was done for all the bridge classes in secondary education. The program was evaluated twice and in both evaluations the students and the teachers expressed that they did learn a lot and even wanted for the program to continue and be expanded.

    Out of school activities in Saba included scouting groups, religious after school programs for young children and teenagers, singing groups, dance exercises and sports. These were activities that were taking place once to three times a week. Information campaigns and programs on teenage pregnancies and AIDS were also done in Curaçao in an effort to inform the young people. Seminars on prevention of women abuse and prostitution were also given to help instill the values of respecting the sanctity of life and to value human dignity. In Bonaire emphasis has been laid in training sport coaches and 21 certificates were given in 1995. Churches also have played a very important role in helping to make both young and old aware of the sanctity of life and the value of human dignity.

  2. Strengthen democracy and respect human rights

    In St. Maarten primary schools used social study projects to inform students, gave information during especially election time and dealt with the topic in the classroom when these issues appear on the news. Both primary and secondary schools in Bonaire made use of history and social science classes to make students aware of human rights and democracy and gave lessons about politics and government during election period.

    One of the most outstanding means that was used out of school to involve the young people of all the islands was the youth parliament. The youth was able to actually go into the parliament hall and debate using the proper terms and defending their standpoints on current issues and challenges facing the Netherlands Antilles.

    Several workshops were done in Curaçao on topics such as “family law”, “know your rights” and “training in social skills, human resource management and teambuilding”. Every year about 50 community leaders of different neighborhoods participated in these workshops and considered it both a support and recognition of their work.

  3. Promote and maintain stable families

    The aspect of family life was given as hidden themes in the social studies class. Service clubs, court of guardianship, churches and pastoral work, did out of schoolwork in this area. Workshops on family law and parenting courses by SIFMA (Children Information and Educational Center Netherlands Antilles) SEBIKI (Bonaire Foundation for Educational Information for Infant Care) are also noteworthy activities done to promote and maintain stable families.

  4. Adopt healthier physical, mental and emotional lifestyles

    Physical education in school was the main medium used to promote a healthier lifestyle and also the Lions Quest program and the hygiene subject. Out of school activities included courses and workshops given by various government departments such as Health and Mental Health departments. Other programs included drug prevention programs, community team training, training of social skills, first aid courses for teens and young people, and programs for after school supervision and care. Many children are benefiting from the after school programs. In Bonaire alone more than 221 registered in 1998. Every year more than 75 scouting and after school care leaders are trained in Curaçao to conduct vacation activities for young people. In addition workshops are being given to upgrade personnel of day care centers, on computer and career training, healthy cooking and also for parents of ‘first offenders’ geared especially for socio-economic deprived children. The government also has been supporting sports activities in the various neighborhoods.

  5. Recognize and affirm gender equality and respect gender differences

    No reports have been given of schools carrying any specific in-school activity to affirm gender equality and respect gender differences. (SEDA) (Women Center) has organized a study day on masculinity and also gave courses for teenage mothers.

  6. Value religious and ethnic diversity

    The main item that was informed was religious instruction given in private schools. Out of school activities included crusades organized by churches, courses given by FESSKA (Foundation for Antillean Catholic Scientific Higher Education), training skills for catholic teachers, training for nursery school teachers.

  7. Respect their cultural heritage and that of others

    Intercultural festivities were held in schools. Out of school activities included workshops on cultural dances such as the ‘Tambu’, ‘Seu’ and courses given by the Africari Foundation. Emphasis is laid on the celebration by the whole population of cultural, folkloric, historic festivities and sport events such as the regatta and carnival.

  8. Lead productive lives and take advantage of economic opportunities

    No information has been given of any specific activity being done in schools. SEDA (Center for Women) and the Steering Committee carried a very interesting project “Stand on your own feet and save your wallet” for especially single mothers. In addition several courses were given such as courses on budgeting, micro lending, financial management in organizations and budgeting in the family.

  9. Use creativity and technology to sustain personal, social and economic development

    In-school activities included occasionally promotion by teachers, special classes for foreigners and courses in arts, creativity, and computer and technology classes. Out-of-school activities comprised science and career fairs, making the library a computer and video resource center, cooking classes and courses in music, arts, drama, and dance and sport activities.

  10. Resolve conflicts peacefully and promote a culture of peace

    When problems arise in the classroom attention is paid to this aspect of essential skills. Students are made aware of how to resolve conflicts. The Lions quest program also deals with conflict resolution in the schools.

    A major conference was held in Curaçao in December 1998 sponsored by UNESCO on Education for Non-violence where the whole community was involved. Each island has set up a working group to continue with the follow-up and implementation of the conclusions arrived at the conference. The crime and drug taskforce give information and counseling programs as a means of introducing parents and leaders to ways to use peaceful methods to solve differences of opinion.

    Unfortunately because of the nature of these activities the large majority has not been evaluated. Even though many activities were carried out there has been no assessment of their impact on students, young people, women and the community in general. Furthermore as was mentioned earlier the majority of the programs were out of school programs due to time constraints during the school day.

    Several intentions were made to structurally deal with this void in the educational system of the Netherlands Antilles. Currently there are two plans are in line to be implemented, where some training in essential skills will take place, one is a total reform of our present primary school system called Foundation Based Education.

  11. Foundation Based Education

    It is a plan for a total restructuring of Primary Education in the Netherlands Antilles and for the introduction of the so-called ‘Foundation Based Education’ in the years to come. The approach of the innovation process is broadly supported and reaches all our schools and educational bodies. The reform proposal has already been discussed with the policy makers and educational partners, and presented to all the teachers on each island. The community has also been informed.

    This plan has been reviewed and presented to Parliament for approval. According to our planning, the preparations for implementation will be started soon. In the year 2001 all schools will start at preparatory level with the actual implementation of this educational reform. By the year 2013 Foundation Based Education has to be completely introduced. In this new educational system the mother tongue of the majority population will be used as language of instruction. This means that at the Windward Islands, Saba, St. Maarten, and St. Eustatius the language of instruction will be English, while the Leeward Islands Curaçao and Bonaire will instruct their pupils in Papiamentu.

    To guarantee the possibility of our students to continue the higher forms of education abroad, especially the children of the Leeward Islands, much attention will be given to the teaching of foreign languages. English, Dutch, Spanish will be taught in Primary Education. Dutch and English will furthermore be the languages of instruction in secondary schools.

    With the introduction of this system, modern teaching methods will be applied to facilitate individualized and group teaching to secure an uninterrupted development for all children throughout their school career.

    The introduction of this new system also aims at early passing to secondary through the abolition of the school-leaving examination in the sixth-grade of the present primary school. As a consequence of the introduction of Foundation Based Education a teacher training program and extensive staff development of the present personnel will also be part of the implementation.

    The Foundation Based Education is characterized by:

    • Total change of the present structure: The school for Foundation Based Education will be a three cycle school, with vertical grouping of children in different age groups, namely the first cycle for children 4-8 years, the second cycle for 8-12 years and the third cycle for 12-15 years.
    • An uninterrupted learning track with a comprehensive and general package of subjects.
    • Integration of the kindergarten and primary education (the first cycle),
    • Incorporation of the first two years of Secondary Education in Foundation Based Education (third cycle).
    • The introduction of the native languages of the majority of the population as the languages of instruction (Papiamentu and English);
    • Goal-oriented attention for the most important foreign languages in the Netherlands Antilles, especially Dutch, English and Spanish;
    • Flexible progression, including the elimination of the division of the subject contents into year classes as well as the phenomenon of repeaters;
    • Greater individualization by means of differentiation in-groups.

With the introduction of this new system, modern teaching methods will be applied to facilitate individualized and group teaching to secure an uninterrupted development for all children throughout their school career. Evaluations will be carried out at regular interval for the purpose of monitoring both the quality and the levels.

The preparations for implementation have been recently started. In the year 2001 all schools will start at primary level (4 years old children) with the actual implementation of this innovation plan and it will be gradually implemented in the different cycles.

The second project is “Mas Skol – Formashon Kompletu” (More Schooling – Total Education).

Mas Skol – Formashon Kompletu (More Schooling – Total Education)

The government of the Netherlands has just agreed to fund this project that is targeted to the whole school population in Curaçao. The project is going to start as a pilot project with two primary schools in May of the year 2000. In August of the year 2000 ten more schools will be added to the project. The objectives of the “Mas Skol” project are to teach students essential skills for daily living. A structured program has been setup where each school has one coordinator, 12 to 13 teachers to guide with the homework, 15 instructors to teach the different disciplines and 1 social worker for both schools. The intention is to use attractive, didactic and responsible pedagogical methods to make learning of essential skills possible. Consequently there will be a variety of working methods to teach several technical skills for communication, expression, drama, dance and sport. These skills however will get a place in the process of socialization, where the transfer of values, norms, attitudes and behavior will take place.

A regular after school day would consist of the following activities:

  • Lunch, Homework, and scheduled activities chosen from physical education, sport, creative expression (drama, music, dance, craft, drawing and verbal expression), discussion groups where training in social skills and emotional intelligence will take place.

One essential condition is that the project leaders and social workers are well prepared for their task. A second condition is that parents give the correct example. Children should be able to see that their parents respect these values or that they learn to respect them. For that reason it is important that parents are involved in the implementation of the project. There will be permanent results only when parents share the vision of the project (Sprockel and Hasselmeyer, 2000).

One major concern that remains is the fact that the funding is for two years. The hope is that at the end of two years funding will be available to continue the project. Government legislation will help guarantee the continuation of these projects.

References

Country Report Netherlands Antilles Education For All 2000, Department of Education, Division of Consultancy, Research and Planning, 1999.

Sprockel, A and Hasselmeyer J. D, Mas skol op twee basisscholen, 2000.

Education for All The Year 2000 Assessment, Technical Guidelines, UNESCO, 1998.


Training in Essential Skills, Netherlands Antilles

Over the last decade, the Dominican Republic has been implementing a plan to reform and transform the national educational system called PLAN DECENAL. The plan was designed to promote the development of the Dominican education specifically in terms of quality, innovation, democ-ratization and modernization. To achieve the proposed objectives, several actions and initiatives have been implemented. One of these initiatives was designed to strengthen elementary education in rural areas through the establishment of a project of innovated multigrade schools. Multigrade schools have existed in the country for many years, to offered education in zones of difficult access and with scarce population. A multigrade school is one in which the teacher instruct several grades at the same time.

The reason behind all these initiatives is to overcome the persistent inefficiency and low quality of the Dominican educational system: the repetition rate reached 17% and drop-out rate reached 27% according to 1992 data. This situation was worse in rural areas where the percentage of school failure was even higher and inequalities more evident. This area is characterized by late enrollment of children with the logical consequence of over-age. Another issue is the incomplete education offered since the higher grade available in the majority of rural schools is the fourth grade.

In addition, the characteristics of the traditional education system - with its passive methodologies based on repetition and memorization, where all students have to learn the same at the same pace, and promotion occurs at a specific time during the school year, without recognizing the student’s characteristics, interest and talents - does not take into consideration the heterogenous nature of the rural student body. Furthermore, teachers in these areas have limited experience and formal knowledge about the reality of rural children of different ages sharing a multigrade classroom. All of this is exacerbated by the scarcity of resources affecting all public schools: lack of materials, inadequate infrastructure, insufficient furniture, among others.

It is in this context that the Ministry of Education and Culture and the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) embarked on a project for an Innovated Multigrade School in order to strengthen elementary education in the rural areas, thus guaranteeing the right to complete quality basic education for all children. This is a proposal of significant importance, specially since rural schools in the Dominican Republic represent 60% of the school system. Out of this, 73% or 2,982 centers have multigrade classrooms, the majority located in hard to reach areas with low population density.

The Innovated Multigrade School project (IMS) started In 1994 in 10 schools, having as reference the New School of Colombia and adapting that experience to the Dominican context. Currently the project includes 210 schools in different regions of the country.

Pedagogic Principles of the IMS Impact

The project is based on a student-centered “active pedagogy” proposal. The learning experience is viewed as a dynamic process that takes into account talents, needs, experiences and knowledge of children fostering their exploration, research and questioning abilities through which they build their knowledge. In this way, teaching responds to the evolutionary process, promoting a holistic learning experience.

Students lead their own learning processes. They learn to learn through permanent interactions among them., with the teacher and with the environment. Their experiences and actions are the basis for their learning fostering initiative, creativity and participation in the classroom.

This concept of learning purports a qualitative transformation of the teaching practices and the teacher’s role. The teacher assumes the role of a facilitator, orientator and organizer of significant learning; he/she will have to permanently adjust his/her methodology and learn from the experiences in order to promote higher learning achievements from the children.

Project’s Impact

IMS is implemented through four components: curriculum, training, administrative and community participation.

Curricular Component: Oriented towards the development of the current curriculum with an active and participative methodology, respectful of the processes and learning pace of children. Multigrade classrooms are characterized by group work, and the promotion of autonomous/independent learning. The Curricular component includes the following elements:

Interactive learning guides: The self-instruction guides in Math, Spanish, Natural and Social Sciences facilitate individual and group work. These guides are structured around units that establish the learning objectives, activities to complete and open-ended activities which require applied knowledge. They foster progressive and reflexive learning and facilitate the teacher’s job of handling different grades at the same time.

Learning resource centers: These are classroom corners organized around curricular areas to support the activities proposed in the guides. The materials available in these learning corners either prepared by children, teacher and/or the families usually with resources available in the community.

Classroom library: Each participating classroom has a small library with text books, reference materials and general. literature to promote reading and research abilities in the children.

School Government: This is one of the most important elements of the project. The school government is a student organization that serves to promote leadership, participation, responsibility, cooperation, and democratic and civic behavior and attitudes in children. The president and vice-president of the school government are elected every 2 months from the student body by the students themselves. However, every student is part of the government organisation of committees in charge of different topics and responsibilities, including cleaning and school maintenance, library care, school discipline, etc.

Training Component: Basic strategies used for permanent training are: regular workshops, coaching of teachers, and microcenters.

Workshops generallyentails four basics workshops: Initiation, that presents the objectives and the methodologies of New School, the organisation of the classroom and the establishment of school government; Elaboration of learning resources; Use of the Interactive Learning Guides and Organisation and use of Classroom library, each one with a duration of about a week. They are carried out during the first year the school is in the project. In these workshops the methodology used is similar to the one we want the teacher to implement in the classroom.

Coaching of teachers.School’s supervisors periodically visit the schools to observe and provide feedback to the teacher. Together they assess the teacher’s performance and school progresses and establish new goals and objectives. The visit facilitates a moment of reflection and discussion in which suggestions are made.

Microcentersare spaces where teachers of the same school district gather in one school to exchange ideas and experiences once a month with the support of the supervisor in order to find and share solutions to common school problems and teaching issues.

Administrative Component:Its purpose is to ensure the correct application and observance of the laws and official regulations that have come about with the Ten Year Plan. This component seeks collaboration and accountability between teachers and administrators.

Community Participation Component:The goal of this component is to effectively integrate the family in the teaching/learning process and in the search for solutions to school’s problems. It also seeks to recuperate local cultural expressions and identity among the members of the community. The relation school-community is strengthened through several strategies. The teacher plans activities in which parents contribute in order to adapt the curricular content to the community’s context. Parents also contribute to school maintenance.

IMS Achievements

According to a 1999 evaluation, main project achievements have been:

  • It has made evident the importance of the rural specificities in relation to the educational system therefore the need for a larger project that can ensure the viability and sustainability of rural education.
  • It has developed a global training strategy which has fostered a favorable attitude among teachers towards change.
  • IMS are clearly recognizable by their organization, cleanliness, and welcoming atmosphere.
  • Schools are open to their communities and the project has received great support from the families and the community, which has helped to bring down the traditional barriers that maintained public schools isolated.
  • There is improvement in children’s learning achievements and in their emotional and social dimension including their motivation, creativity, sense of security and participation.

Lessons Learned

To enhance the actions of this project has been identified the need to better articulate the project with other existing school programs. These programs include: school breakfast program, community participation initiatives like parenting school, and the program for support to the first grades in the reading and writing.

It is also of vital importance to consolidate the IMS project and to establish a more clear process of planning, coordination, follow-up, monitoring and evaluation of project’s goals focusing on the accountability of all actors involved.

The project still faces the challenge of national expansion to all multigrade schools in the country.

The IMS project represents an alternative to improve the education in the rural areas. Its conception, implementation and outcomes provide an opportunity to develop new and more suitable ways to educate and enhance diversity.

Bibliography

Cabrera, A y López, C. Escuela Multigrado Innovada: Una alternativa para la educación rural. Ponencia presentada en el Congreso Pedagogia 99, La Habana.

Informe Preliminar de los resultados de la Evaluación Formativa del Proyecto Escuela Multigrado Innovada, 1999.

Hernández, R. Una Escuela Innovada: El proyeto de Escuela Multigrado de la Zona Rural. (Artículo inédito) Santo Domingo, 2000


The Magnet Schools Project

Some Elements that can contribute to the making of Magnet Schools

  • Well painted building in good condition with all the basic facilities provided
  • Dynamic headteacher and staff working together as a team
  • Good communication with parents/guardians in terms of correction of children’s work; addressing reports on their behaviour/performance etc
  • Tone of school: noise level at a minimum, pupils always gainfully employed, teaching/learning aids evident, necessary records and learning resource materials readily available
  • Adequate, qualified and professional staff members
  • Time-table which reflects the importance of the total development of the child

Background

Guyana School Population

Primary Education

The minimum age at admission to a Primary School (preparatory A ) is 5 years 6 months. The primary Education programme is structured to provide literacy and numeracy skills for all pupils within the system. The Curriculum is organised on a subject basis - Mathematics, English,, Social Studies, General ‘Science, Health Education, Music, Art and Agricultural Science being some of the subjects.

Primary Education is a six-year programme. On completion of primary studies, pupils write the National Secondary School Entrance Examination for placement in one of the types of Secondary School programmes. Students are awarded places according to availability coupled with their Examination scores.

Basic Positions

  1. Every Parent wants the best for his/her child
  2. Parents generally use the results of Examinations to label schools
  3. There are many conceptions of good schools

    • Roland S. Barth in his book Improving schools from within stated “ a good school is one I would like my child to attend or one I would like to work in”

  4. Good Schools can be called “Magnet Schools” because we are attracted to them.

Purpose of Programme

To identify possible reasons for the deterioration in the performance of the schools identified and to implement systems which would cause general improvement.

Identification of Schools

Three schools in the Georgetown area were identified. The performance of these schools had deteriorated over the years. Parents no longer perceived them as ‘good’ schools

Programme Phases

Phase I Information gathering
Phase II Correction/Implementation

Phase 1 - From May 1997

Phase One (I). Elements

  1. Objectives
  2. Activities
  3. Time Schedules
  4. Outcomes

Some Objectives

  • To Sensitise staff of project schools to the components of the programme
  • To help staff members identify some of the reasons for how- enrolment and/or unsatisfactory performance at their, respective schools
  • To examine physical structure, surroundings and facilities of the schools
  • To inspect relevant Records
  • To liaise with Ministry’s Officials
  • To discuss observations with Headteacher and staff
  • To make public aware of activities of the schools
  • To collect data to support the statements that each of the schools is underpopulated
  • To observe pattern of withdrawal for a ten-year period
  • To document movement of administrative staff over a ten-year period
  • To determine qualifications and experience of present staff
  • To analyse S.S.E.E. results over a ten-year period
  • To analyse results of annual examinations during a five-year period
  • To examine procedure for testing and kinds of tests administered
  • To ascertain what is done with test results
  • To determine Socio Economic Activity of parents of present enrolment

Some Achievements During 1999

(1) Greater Community/Parent Involvement

  • Improved attendance of parents at meetings and other school activities
  • Donation of a water pump to one school
  • Donation of furniture and books to schools
  • Several parent seminars were held under the theme “The Enhancement of parental skills”
  • Donation of sports equipment
  • Formation of a small group of parents from all three schools who meet alternate months to discuss school improvement, especially as it relates to parent involvement

(2) Improved systems

  • Common schemes of work in use
  • Teachers of all three schools meet during Easter, August and Christmas vacations to discuss and find solutions to common problems and to prepare schemes of work
  • Staff development sessions were held, twice monthly at each school.
  • Improved attendance
  • Sharing of ideas with colleagues in other schools as a result of “Exchange teaching”
  • A three-day camp for pupils of the Magnet Schools and their twins was held in July. The theme was ‘I am Special’
  • Counsellors continued to make home visits
  • Each school has a functioning library
  • Pupils have secured membership at the Georgetown Reading and Research Centre
  • Several pupils of the schools have been exposed to computer technology


Human Rights Education for Citizenship

Education For Citizenship was launched in Guyana in 1993, a significant year for Human Rights Education (HRE) around the world. UNESCO in that year adopted its ‘World Plan of Action on Education for Human Rights and Democracy'. In the same year, the United Nations World Conference on. Human Rights took place in Vienna and the General Assembly of the United Nations endorsed the launching of the Decade for Human Rights Education.

The programme set out to encompass three objectives over a three-year cycle:

  • Devise a human rights curriculum.

  • Produce human rights, curriculum materials.

  • Train teachers, to teach Education for Citizenship.

The ultimate objective of this programme is to incorporate Human Rights Education For Citizenship as a core subject into the national curriculum.

Development of the Human Rights Education for Citizenship programme took the form of three cycles of national workshops each followed by a period of testing of materials. The first two national workshops introduced some fifty-five teachers and administrators of the Ministry of Education and Cultural Development to the major human rights documents around which the course work would be structured, especially the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). In addition to local teachers, Curriculum Development specialists from four Caribbean territories (Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago) also attended the first workshop. Specialists in HRE from the United States and Ethiopia acted as resource people for these workshops. A Curriculum specialist from the Ministry of Education, in Trinidad and Tobago attended all of the workshops and is following the process closely.

The third workshop in August 1995 integrated Human Rights Education For Citizenship goals with existing primary level and early secondary curriculum objectives and with those of the Family Life Education syllabus to, ensure no duplication occurred.

A Task Force comprising teachers and Ministry officials, established at the end of this workshop, began the work of finalizing production of curriculum materials. This task involved finalizing objectives of sub-topics within each theme and writing sample lessons. At its first meeting, steps were also taken by the task Force to develop a campaign to sensitize parents and the general public about HRE.

The draft text produced by the Task Force underwent a period of testing in some sixty schools in the 10 Regions of Guyana between May 1996 and January 1997. In addition to schools, the module was tested by NGOs working with children, relevant Government agencies and PTAs. A standard evaluation form developed by the Task Force for comments on the module was returned by approximately 65% of schools.

A final Workshop in July 1997 brought together specialists, teachers and Ministry officials to complete the review of the draft module. Curriculum developers from Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago once again accompanied this process.

The programme ‘Education For Citizenship' was born out of a unique collaboration between the Ministry of Education, Amnesty International - Guyana Section and the Guyana Human Rights Association. Following an initial grant from Save The Children (UK) to fund the first workshop and supply a set of materials, the programme was sustained financially by the Norwegian Section of Amnesty's ‘Teaching For Freedom'. On a designated day in the year all schoolchildren in Norway are involved in ‘Operation A Day's Work' in which they do chores to raise funds. The funds are accumulated nationally and designated for a particular use. In 1991 they were donated to Amnesty International for its Human Rights Education programme around the world. This source of funding, from the efforts of children for the benefit of other children, is particularly appropriate to, the programme.

The programme has been an excellent experience of national and international cooperation. We wish to record our appreciation for the high level of voluntary work from the regional, international and local facilitators as well as members of the Coordinating Team and Task Force. 92% of the monies donated were absorbed by workshops, training, public education and production of materials. Administrative expenses were kept to the remaining 8% of the budget.



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