Teachers are trained principally by the Cyril Potter College of Education, which offers a two-year program for those entering the nursery and primary schools and a three-year program for those aiming to become secondary or vocational teachers. To be accepted, all applicants must pass four subjects (which must include English and mathematics) on the CXC examination or a qualifying level on the General Certificate of Education examination. A fee is required, and each student must agree to serve the government for five years after graduation. Certification requires 85 percent attendance in all subjects, and the course lasts 20 hours a week. Programs include such topics as study skills and the teaching of reading, and lectures are given on the English language, mathematics, music, and moral education and guidance. Gender-free teaching skills and gender sensitivity training are also part of the curriculum.
Graduates earn a teaching certificate from the Cyril Potter College of Education. Between 1995 and 2000, more than 2,200 trained teachers graduated from this college, though many of them chose to teach in private schools or in foreign countries, attracted by higher wages and better working conditions. Female students are the majority in the college, especially in the nursery, primary, and secondary programs. The college also has programs for untrained teachers and programs for upgrading teachers in the remote areas of the republic.
Teachers may also be trained at the University of Guyana, which offers courses in education that lead to a diploma, bachelor's degree, or a master's degree. The university works closely with the Cyril Potter College, and both programs are supervised by the Ministry of Education, which also places graduates. The Lilian Dewar College of Education, which specializes in training secondary teachers, was founded in 1968 in response to the growing need for secondary teachers.