If it ain’t broke…

It has been almost forever that the Guyana Government has been doing everything to fashion the education landscape. The historians and other knowledgeable people who had been exposed to the machinations of the education system realized that Guyana’s education system was rooted in the tradition of the Mother Land.
The schools and colleges were patterned after those in England. In fact, Guyana was training its students for a career in England or in any other country governed by Guyana.  For one, the language in which classes were conducted was that of the Mother country. Even the clothes worn were of the English tradition.
In the broiling sun people decked themselves in coat and tie, and schoolboys and girls wore ties. In fact, this is the trend to this day. The external examinations were prepared by examiners in England and marked by those very examiners. The local students easily gained places in the British schools based on the local exams.
When all was said and done, the education system prepared the locals for work in Britain or its overseas territories. This should explain why so many of our skilled people ended up working in England during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. All of our Guyana Scholars until recently went to England to further their studies as did our lawyers before those who then qualified themselves at the Hugh Wooding Law School.
Guyana’s education system was considered the best in the region. Those who pursued studies at the University of the West Indies excelled. In fact, the Jamaican lecturers had the mantra that Guyanese always do well.
Those of our English-trained doctors are excellent by any standard and it is the same with our engineers. The bottom line is that, Guyana provided an excellent academic base, so good that our students could progress to any heights.
It was the same with those of us who travelled to elsewhere in Europe and the United States. Such was the respect for Guyana’s academic standards that those of us who migrated sent out children back to Guyana for their academic base.
But suddenly we begin to tamper with the system. The fact that we made our schools co-educational is not an issue because in today’s world the focus is on equality. But we began to change the curriculum. Some of the changes were intended to cater for those who are not academically inclined. We introduced the multilateral schools that were intended to provide an education simultaneously for the academic and the technically inclined.
But then things went haywire. In our quest for our identity we began to provide our own textbooks and it would seem that there was not enough study of the mind of the child to produce a meaningful textbook.
In Guyana, having developed a reputation for having quality teachers, the country then became a hunting ground for those countries that wanted to have their children properly taught. When the poaching began so many countries came at the same time that in short order the best teachers were all gone.
The first thing that we did was to panic. Over enthusiastic decision makers decided that we would train as many people as we could to compensate for the drain on our resources. They did not take into consideration that our trainers had also been recruited. The result is that there has been a decline in the quality of education provided.
Our administrators went even further; they were going to promote every child regardless. This is a most stupid decision, one for which the nation is paying and the Education Ministry seems bent on maintaining this nonsense. And this is maintained despite the protestations of the educators who suddenly find that many children are prepared to sail through, not keen to study any more because they will be promoted regardless.
Education Minister Priya Manickchand did have an excellent amendment when she reported that those who failed Mathematics and English would be referred. To recant now is to give up and to accept that Guyana is prepared to accommodate its illiterates
There is no plan to reverse this trend at the start of the academic life.