Challenges and best practices in the education systems of Barbados and Guyana were shared recently, when Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guyana, Carl Greenidge, paid a courtesy call on Education Minister, Ronald Jones, at the Elsie Payne Complex.
Mr. Jones noted that the two countries had the potential to build on the ???very deep and strong relationship??? forged since the era of Forbes Burnham (Guyana???s first Prime Minister) and Errol Barrow (Barbados??? First Prime Minister) and this could continue in education, since both countries had the capacity to strengthen each other???s systems.
???We have had fairly successful educational developments over the years albeit a smaller size country. There are challenges that you have that we don???t have???You would have had challenges of retaining some of your better teachers who in fact migrated across the region in quite large numbers???,??? the Education Minister said.
Guyana???s Foreign Affairs Minister, in acknowledging Barbados as one of the first in the region with universal primary education, pointed to challenges in his own country with mathematics, geography and languages.
While noting that parents had compensated for the education system by accessing additional lessons for their charges, he stressed the need to recognise the practical application of these disciplines to real problems, and to see the importance of languages to the Foreign Service.
???I know that you have, over the years, maintained your capacity there and I saw that in the Foreign Service from time to time, when I was in Brussels,??? Mr. Greenidge remarked.
He continued: ???You would be amazed to find that the foreign service officers and ambassadors who would have retired??? have language capacity, either Spanish or Portuguese, [or] some French. But, the younger ones in the system, many have no such capacity and that is a reflection of both failure of the training and the education system. So, what we are now challenged to do is to put on programmes, within the Foreign Service, in particular, for the diplomats so they can enhance Spanish and Portuguese.???
Guyana???s Foreign Minister also heard that Barbados was ???aggressively pushing??? technical and vocational education, placing emphasis on skills and competency and could extend assistance to that country while also accepting aid in the electronics fields or any range of skills.
???In the region TVET courses are growing??? we have about 180 standards and that is growing exponentially???the qualification is portable across the region ??? because it is certified, particularly at Levels I and II,??? Mr. Jones pointed out. He explained that both gave a certain level of competence and skill for entry level practitioners and had the potential to impact on national development.
Stressing that Guyana and Barbados could advance cooperation and mutual assistance in education, he added that a tour of Guyana???s educational system could assist our officials in determining how this could be achieved.