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Gdf launches its distance academic education programme

At a modest yet significant ceremony, the Guyana Defence Force today launched its Academic Education Programme (AEP) at Base Camp Seweyo on the Linden Soesdyke Highway. This programme, though not the first attempt by the Force to educate its soldiers through this mode, is innovative, in that a major part of it will be delivered in the distance mode, and demonstrates a greater commitment to providing academic education for its members.

In his Feature Address, Chief-of-Staff (COS) Commodore Gary Best said that, the AEP truly fulfils the GDF’s promise to the nation to support the education of our young people, and it validates the commitment of the Commander-in-Chief (CIC), to promote the education and development of the Force’s ranks at all levels. He also explained that the AEP is of critical importance to soldiers since their promotion and other forms of upward mobility will be conditioned on the successful completion of the requisite promotional examinations, which, itself would require successful completion of the various levels of the AEP. The programme will serve to complement the efforts of the Ministry of Education and other organisations that are working among youths to ultimately reduce the yoke of delinquency that is apparent in some of our youth today.

Almost two years ago, the Force had reported that close to seventy percent of youths seeking entry to the Force failed to score passes at the its entrance examination which is set at the national Grade six level. Those daunting results provided an opportunity for the GDF to further its contribution to national development by providing them with the tools to upgrade their academic levels.

The programme is three-tiered: beginning with the Remedial level, followed by the Foundation level and culminating with the CXC programme.

The Remedial level is geared for applicants who failed the Force’s entrance examination. It is of five-weeks duration and is delivered in a 70/30 format (70% face to face interaction; 30% distance study). It is an instructional programme designed to identify and correct the deficiencies in reading, writing and mathematics. Upon conculsion, the Recruits will commence the Basic Recruit Course. This level of training will be continuous once the need exists.

The second tier is the Foundation level which is designed to improve the soldiers academic performance thus preparing them for tier three.

Tier Three of the AEP is equivalent to the secondary schools’ curriculum for Forms 1-5. It is geared to enable ranks to pursue the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate Examination and beyond. The CXC level of the AEP comprises English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Physical Education, Spanish, Integrated Science and Social Studies, which will be delivered through the distance mode. Soldiers pursuing this level will be issued with student guides and workbooks. They will be supervised during the programme by the Force’s academic teaching staff and their respective Commanders. The programme caters for the slowest of learners allowing them to continue their academic pursuits regardless of their location.

The Ministry of Education has been apprised of the programme and the Force will seek to collaborate with officials from the Ministry to ensure conformity with their standards.

While the main objective is to prepare soldiers for on the job performance, other objectives include, offering soldiers a “second chance” at academic excellence, preparation of the soldiers for the pursuit of higher education, the improvement of the overall literacy levels of soldiers and their preparation for life after service.

Samples of the Foundation Student Guide and Workbook, Levels One and Two English Language and Mathematics Student Guide and Workbook, and Level One Spanish Student Guide and Workbook were unveiled by the COS and the Colonel General Staff at the ceremony. Officers, soldiers and members of the media witnessing the ceremony were invited to peruse the samples.

The COS expressed thanks to the government for its support in enabling the activity, and emphasized the Force’s commitment to the process of national development.