For Guyana to enhance and raise the standards of its educational sector, formal training of educational leaders is critical.These sentiments were expressed by Education Minister Nicolette Henry, during the opening ceremony of a three-day educational leadership conference hosted by the Education Ministry, which is aimed at improving the leadership qualities of educational leaders.Some of the participants engaged in discussion at the opening ceremony of the education leadership conferenceSpeaking at the event, which was hosted at the Roraima Duke Lodge on Monday under the theme, “Leading schools in a changing world and the challenges change brings with holding people to account”, Minister Henry emphasised the need for such an initiative and the fact it has finally been made a reality. Her keynote address focused on leadership and qualities which govern this skill.“I recognise that many persons may not have had the opportunity to benefit from formal training on leadership and so that training provides that opportunity and support that is needed for you to optimise performance. Having the foundational knowledge of leadership perspectives and system thinking provides an opportunity to improve your own leadership skills and resources,” she stated.Persons who attended the event were urged to utilise the advice and training given to improve their skills when educating others. The Minister explained that this conference was expected to modify certain aspects of the sector that were suited to tackling the changes of society.Henry noted that it was also expected that the leadership conference would set the pace for the much-needed change necessary in education today.“With so many evolving changes in education, it is the role of new leaders within the field to inspire great changes for the individuals, the community, and the world,” she added.In giving her opinion on the qualities of a good leader, Henry advised participants to display motivation, which was the most critical factor, highlighting that the creation of good leaders began with the modification of training of teachers and the implementation of a system-thinking approach.“The most profound aspect of effective leadership is ability to motivate others to enact change. This is not an act that occurs with leadership, but it is an act that contributes to effective leadership,” she said.Facilitator of the workshop, Dennise Hilliman, who shared remarks, stated that while the training was one that would not have a major impact “overnight”, it certainly would aid in the long-term benefits of good quality education.According to her, the world is considered to be more dangerous with increased life expectancy and virtual reality among the burgeoning issues. With this, she emphasised the need for teachers to maximise the use of their instructional time towards effective goals, since the task of educating children happened only once.Additionally, three panellists were featured and more advice given on the calibre of persons who would be considered inspirational leaders, with the Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana (UG), Professor Ivelaw Griffith cited as an example.Meanwhile, head teachers and other education officials from all the administrative regions of Guyana took the opportunity to participate in the activities to further improve their performance. They are expected to implement these new skills upon their return to the various communities.In 2018, great priority was placed on education with a large percentage of the budget allocated towards the sector.The training exercise for the next three days is expected to provide participants with foundational information on educational concepts, theories, and approaches that are frequently utilised in the delivery of education. In the future, the Ministry is hoping to have this programme delivered to all teachers in Guyana so that teachers can explore the perspectives of teaching.
DIPCON vs Finance MinisterThe court hearing into the legal proceedings filed against Finance Minister Winston Jordan by Trinidadian company DIPCON Engineering Services over non-payment of monies which the Government was ordered to pay back in 2015, on Thursday commenced in the chambers of Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry at the Demerara High Court.Finance Minister Winston JordanAttorney General Basil Williams appeared on behalf of the State. During the hearing, an application was made for an extension of 14 days (two weeks) for the respondent (State) to serve and file a defence into the case challenging the Finance Minister. As such, the application was accepted by Justice Sewnarine-Beharry, allowing the respondent to have two weeks to file their defence.The Attorney General in an invited comment revealed that following Thursday’s decision, they would have to write to the Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards in order that a new court be constituted to hear the matter.DIPCON has recently moved to the court over non-payment of some US$2.2 million which the Government was ordered to pay back in 2015. The legal proceedings were this time brought against the Finance Minister as he failed to adhere to the court order, compelling the State to pay the aforementioned amount of money to the Trinidadian company.Minister Jordan during last week informed the media that the company will receive the monies it is legally due, but the Government needs some time.“…but the judgement is a huge judgement. Our lawyers, the Attorney General’s (AG) Chambers, will deal with the matter. The Government, through the AG Chambers, will start examining the matter to pay them (DIPCON)…we will provide a response shortly” Minister Jordan stated.In 2017, Justice Rishi Persaud had ruled that DIPCON recover from the Government of Guyana some US$665,000 as monies due to the engineering company for road-building and construction works undertaken for and at the request of the Government, along with some US$1.5 million for increased costs incurred by DIPCON.The engineering company also requested a six per cent per annum interest from February 10, 2009 to October 21, 2015 and thereafter at a rate of four per cent per annum until fully paid. It was also ordered that Government pay DIPCON costs to the tune of $1,200,000 along with a stay of execution for six weeks from the date of the ruling.