Ministry of Education, Guyana

Friday, 12 February 2016 13:57

2016 National Budget Presentation, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, Honourable Minister of Education

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Mr. Speaker, it was those core strategic concerns that would be reflected in the presentation of this administration’s inaugural budget less than a year ago.

It bears reminding that in his inaugural Budget Speech in 2015, the Minister of Finance projected that education would become both a means to, and an end of, sustainable development. He emphasized the intended vision where all of our citizens would have equal access to high quality education and learning opportunities, and where education is positioned as the key intermediary through which we lay the foundation of a robust competitive economy, as well as an inclusive and social cohesive society’

He further underlined the collaborative nature of the education enterprise and the need for a holistic and integrated approach to education, the objectives being ensuring a “seamless transition between schooling and employment. He projected that ultimately “by 2020, our children and young people must be exposed to an appropriate mix of STEM subjects, liberal arts, and sports and culture that together will ensure well rounded individuals who are capable of excelling in their chosen path.”

In enjoining the Minister Jordan on that occasion, I first of all intimated the intention to establish a Commission of Inquiry into the Education System with a view of locating “precisely where our journey begins” This approach is also informed by the intention to formulate “ evidenced based policies” and ‘system-based reform’. In consonance with this approach, I highlighted the need for the establishment of the National Advisory Council as a stakeholder forum that would guide the process of constructing and implementing an evidenced based strategy built on core tenets including:

  1. “A broad, multi phased strategy framework for national education reform and development.”
  2. “Contextualization within the CARICOM Regional Education and HR Development Strategy 2030”.
  3. “Particular focus on the use of technology in education sector management.”
  4. “Particular focus on Hinterland Education Reform”.

In that regard, I mentioned some specific initiatives that were to be outlined.; among those initiatives were:

  1. A review of the Education Cash Grant programme, which seemed not to be serving the intended purpose.
  2. The expansion of the warm meals and general school feeding programmes.
  3. The revamping of School Boards and Parent Teachers Association and the reestablishment of Regional Education committees.
  4. Better service delivery to the disabled and a more enlightened approach, by the population, to persons with disabilities.
  5. The strategic integration of ICT education as opposed to an OLPF that proved not only ill-conceived but also fraught with corruption and wastage.
  6. Provision of teachers with both equipment and training.

The 2020 outcome that I envisaged was the production of a competent Guyanese citizen and provision of our youth a voice and a role in shaping their destiny.

Mr. Speaker, the reality of 2015 was that it was a severely truncated year. The Government was installed in May of 2015 but a budget only became available in September of 2015. Having embarked in September much was done to commence the realization of that which had been articulated in the Manifesto and which found itself into the proposals for the 2015 budget and subsequent presidential and ministerial pronouncements.

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