Nursery Education is an essential aspect in children attaining optimum academic achievement. This was the contention of Acting Chief Education Officer (CEO) Marcel Hutson as he alluded to the importance of nursery education in the country.Hutson was at the time speaking at the launch of a Literacy Clinic at the Ramada Princess Hotel on Sunday, explaining that the Day marked 40 years since public access to Nursery Education was realised in Guyana.“We [are] celebrating 40 years [of] nursery education which is a fundamental kind of education and we believe that if our children are going to do well, they must be able to get that motivation to be able to push and the inspiration to go forward,” he said.It was in 1976 that all private education was discontinued from Nursery to University and became free of cost. This change was premised on the State’s policy at the time, when socialism was dominant and pre-eminent. Before then, nursery level education was the preserve of the privileged who sent their children to these institution that were run privately.In fact, at the time the policy was changed, the Education Ministry had little involvement in the nursery level.According to historical accounts, at the time government assumed full control of the education sector, the Ministry of Education, through its relevant agencies sought to train the school owners and teachers to align their teaching methodology with the State’s curriculum requirements.Further, these nursery education facilitators were then paid by the State.In the early years of the public nursery system, the government continued to use the same buildings that the private institutions had held. Over time, nursery classes developed into Primary schools, a situation that exists today.Additionally, government had also set up what is called “Discreet Nursery Schools” where the nursery school was held in a separate building. One example is the Starters’ Nursery School, located at the back of St Margaret’s Primary in Cummingsburg, Georgetown.In those days, some parents opted not to send their children to school and many parents would wait until the Primary age to begin formal schooling.Guyana Times was told that this situation continued, which led to some Headteachers of Primary institutions being hesitant in accepting children without the nursery level education.The inclusion of Nursery Education in the public system gave rise to the development of the Early Childhood Education Programme which allowed for teachers to be trained for two years of nursery in addition to the first two years primary education, now called Grades 1 and 2.Research has shown that when teachers embarked on this programme, they were better equipped to prepare students for the transition from Nursery to Primary.In Guyana, teachers are professionally trained at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) and the University of Guyana (UG).On Thursday last, the Education Ministry announced that CPCE is currently interviewing prospective students for 2016-2017 after having received 1847 applications for its programmes: Associate Degree in Education (two years); Associate Degree in Education (one year); and, Trained Teachers Certificate (three years).It was not specified how many applicants would be included for early childhood training. The statement however pointed out that “applicants will be selected based on the needs of the Administrative Region”.