–facility at UG to cater to over 100 young learners
EARLY childhood education remains on course to being transformed, with the commissioning of a $161 million Early Childhood Centre of Excellence at the University of Guyana (UG), Turkeyen Campus.
The Early Childhood Centre of Excellence is funded by the government and the Caribbean Development Bank, through the Basic Needs Trust Fund Guyana. It creates a conducive environment for young learners to explore, grow and develop.
Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, in her remarks, said that Guyana has the highest nursery enrollment rate in the Commonwealth; as such, the investment is fitting since Guyana and the Caribbean could learn from practices which will be implemented at the institution.
She said that the important level of education is at the early childhood age and urged people to not view the Early Childhood Centre of Excellence as just another nursery school.
“This, as a research unit, can make all the difference in education in Guyana… it can make all the difference in education across all sectors — primary, secondary and nursery,” Minister Manickchand said.
UNICEF Representative, Nicholas Pron, related that UNICEF believes that the centre will not only contribute to the best start to life, it will also facilitate and foster a holistic, inclusive approach to improving early childhood development, as well as enhancing the knowledge and competencies of early childhood development practitioners, researchers, parents and other caregivers.
Meanwhile, Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Paloma Mohamed said the project was long in the making, and would help the university to find solutions to the challenges in the way in which children are socialised and raised.
Director of the Centre, Dr. Lidon Lashley, said that the facility currently caters to 102 young learners, 26 of whom require additional educational needs. He noted that each child’s need is catered to.
“And we do so in an atmosphere that embraces the Ministry of Education’s Early Childhood Curriculum but also extended it with practices and research that is done on the upper level,” Dr. Lashley said.
Representing the Ministry of Finance, Karen Roopchand said the institution was designed as a premier centre to provide a developmentally appropriate learning environment for young children in the surrounding communities, and give early childhood education students a venue to gain practical experience in the care and education of children.
The facility is equipped with all the amenities needed by learners and early childhood practitioners and caregivers. The building was also designed to accommodate learners living with disabilities. (Ministry of Education)