Baksh tells managers workshop…


Quality assurance top priority to improve education standards
MINISTER of Education Mr. Shaik Baksh announced, on Monday, that quality assurance is at the forefront in his ministry’s drive to continuously improve standards and performance in the sector.
He was speaking at the Pegasus Hotel, in Kingston, Georgetown, at the opening of a three-day peer review workshop, hosted by the National Accreditation Council (NAC) with support from the Caricom Secretariat.
The initiative was part of a regional programme to build capacity of accreditation bodies in member states to ensure standards of higher education delivery are of international repute.
The training, funded by the European Union (EU), was facilitated by Dr. Ruby Alleyne and Mr. Jason Stafford, both from the University of Trinidad and Tobago and similar workshops will be undertaken in other CARICOM territories.
Baksh said his ministry has adopted a culture of evaluation, pointing out that its current strategic plan is being reviewed twice every year and, as part of the teacher education reform project, funded by the World Bank, the associate degree programme, offered by the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE), will be assessed on a regular basis to ensure compliance with reputable standards.
He said there have been concerns over the quality of the programmes at the University of Guyana but lauded steps taken by UG to address such matters.
Baksh disclosed that a quality assurance component for the university is in the making and work on it will commence shortly.
The minister told the workshop participants that the issue of quality assurance must not only be looked at in a holistic way, but should be a standard feature of all institutions of higher learning.
Towards that objective, he praised the NAC for being pro-active over the past three years and said more persons will be appointed to strengthen the capacity of that body to carry out its functions and widen focus on the promulgation of the National Accreditation Act.  
He said that the ministry is moving in that direction to ensure it gets value for money for the billions of dollars being invested in the education sector to improve educational outcomes.
The workshop, which had its focus on training local assessors to competently evaluate higher level education programmes, is the third of its kind to be conducted in this country.
Those who participated included representatives from CPCE, UG, technical institutions and other top managers of the Education Ministry.