SEND Sector reviews 2023 accomplishments, optimistic about 2024

Over the last week, the Ministry of Education’s Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Sector engaged in a series of activities to assess its progress and set the agenda for the upcoming year.

In 2023, the SEND sector achieved significant milestones, including the launch of its screening and intervention program, which led to the training of over 1500 Nursery Year Two teachers in learner screening. Additionally, deri out of eleven educational districts now have dedicated SEND officers.

Another major accomplishment for the sector was the introduction of the Associate Degree in Special Education Needs and Disabilities at the Cyril Potter College of Education.

Assistant Chief Education – SEND, Mr Keon Cheong, highlighted that the sector will adopt the theme from the International Day of Persons with Disabilities for 2024: ‘United in action to rescue and achieve the SDGs for, with, and by persons with disabilities.’

Mr Cheong expressed optimism, stating that with the groundwork laid, 2024 will witness continued progress for the sector, leading to an enhanced quality of life for learners with SEND in Guyana.

“These improvements come based on the progressive thinkers of the Ministry of Education and a committed government to this vulnerable and underrepresented population.”

Among the initiatives planned for 2024 is ongoing teacher training to utilize the screening packet, aiming for the universal screening of nursery and primary school learners. Additionally, there are plans to establish more SEND units, with the training of SEND officers to effectively implement the curriculum.

The first cohort of student teachers specializing in SEND is also expected to graduate this year.

During the week’s activities, Mr. Saddam Hussain, the Chief Education Officer, shared the Ministry’s stance on supporting SEND learners. Mr. Hussain expressed gratitude to the participants for their dedicated work and encouraged them to continue giving their best in supporting this population.