Karaudarnau, Sawariwau and Mururanau are the three Wapichan communities in Region 9 that have embarked on a pilot programme to develop quality bilingual education for primary school children there with the aim of adequately responding to the needs of the indigenous children as well as passing on wisdom and traditions of their culture.
This is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and the Toshaos of Deep South Rupununi and supported by Jesuits working in the Rupununi.
Preparatory work and intensive grass root level interactions were carried out to ensure ownership of the proposed programme among the communities.
Minister Allicock meets a participant.
Friday last teams from the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs led by Minister Sydney Allicock and the Ministry of Education attended the conclusion of a rigorous orientation program aimed at determining innovative approaches to teaching of language, mathematics and sciences.
In addressing the 25-member community-based Resource Team which included community members, Deputy Toshaos, Wapishana language and culture experts, artists and practicing school teachers Minister Allicock said “language is very important especially for Guyana and the unity, that is the unifying of our people our country and our region. We have the dedication of the people and the opportunity to move us forward into that next era, one that can change the mindset of the Guyanese people and put a new dimension on how we look at Guyana”.
Vincent Alexander who is the Technical Facilitator in the Ministry of Education adumbrated that “what language does is give you identity and recognition and when you have identity and recognition then there’s currency to deal with the others so what this should be doing for you is not only helping in terms of helping to assimilate but also to give you the kind of scope to outreach beyond your region, your country and into the wider global community because there are things that you can give to the globe and there are things that the globe can give to you”.
It is expected that all the stages for Nursery 1 will be completed and the teachers will be trained on the new materials by the end of August so the actual implementation of the new bilingual textbooks in the programme schools can be incorporated in the September 2017 academic year.
Additionally, materials for Grade 2 Nursery will be completed for the next academic year, while 2019-2020 will see this introduced at the Grade 1 level, 2020-2021 Grade 2 and 2021-2022 will cover the Grade 3 level.
It is expected that throughout the pilot programme the MOE and NCERD would undertake field review and be part of the joint review teams on a regular basis. They will allow participation of its school teachers, headmasters, and other education officers/ officials in various activities related to the pilot programme.
The curriculum will also provide a template that will be applicable to other indigenous communities across Guyana.
The three-day workshop was hosted by the Jesuits in St. Ignatius.