In September 2019, GEPAN with the support of its donor network, donated a HP 17″ laptop computer to the Quality Bilingual Education Programme (QBEP) centre in Aishalton. The computer was gifted to the centre to assist the senior Nursery Field Officer (NFO) to conduct pedagogical activities in the 3 nursery schools which benefit from the programme. 60 children from different Deep South Rupununi villages are enrolled in these participating nursery schools.
Indigenous children are particularly challenged by difficult circumstances that range from poor quality of education and primary health care in the hinterland, as well as inadequate resources (including financial) and deplorable infrastructure that renders going to school difficult. In some regions, there are few trained and qualified teachers, nurses or doctors available due to the remote locations of communities, as well as the living conditions which can be a deterrent for professionals. Schooling is done in English which has contributed over the years, along with other factors such as internal migration and religion, to the erosion (and in some cases quasi-extinction) of indigenous languages. The stigma long associated with being indigenous has also had a catalytic effect on the erosion of ancestral languages. In an age of information technology, innovation is therefore necessary to ensure that indigenous cultures are preserved and promoted while indigenous communities keep up with the social and economic development of the country.
Background information on QBEP
Determined in their efforts to promote education that respects and includes their language and culture, the Wapichans of Region 9, Rupununi, are collaborating with the Education Ministry’s National Centre for Resource Development (NCERD) to pilot a Quality Bilingual Education Programme (QBEP) for Wapichan children in 3 nursery schools. These are located in Sawariwau, Karaudarnau and Maruranau in the Deep South Rupununi.
In July 2018, A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry and the QBEP was signed. On September 1st, 2018, the programme was officially launched at its headquarters in Aishalton and a technical team of 4 was created to support the work of the resource team, teachers and villagers.
The QBEP will be implemented over the period of 2018-2020 after which an evaluation will determine whether the programme should be extended beyond nursery level to include up to Grade 3 in the South Rupununi.
We would like to thank Medino Abraham who was instrumental in helping with the logistics and reaching our beneficiaries.
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