…President promises first-class education system

…says significant percentage of oil revenues will be pumped into sector

The A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) Government will build a first-class education system, President David Granger said as he assured the nation’s children, that, from 2020, there will be a re-introduction of free education from nursery to university in accordance with the Constitution of Guyana.

His pledge was met with loud cheers from the thousands of students and teachers who gathered at D’Urban Park, on Monday, to witness the opening of the Education Ministry’s Education Exposition, held under the theme – ‘Education the key to national development.’
The students and teachers were drawn from more than 100 educational institutions from across the country. “You don’t have to migrate; you don’t have to go away. We are going to build a first-class education system. Every Guyanese child will be educated on all four levels – nursery, primary, secondary and university at State expense- it is your entitlement,” the Head of State assured the students much to their satisfaction.news 20191001 5

The revenues that will stream from the Oil and Gas Industry from 2020 and beyond will not only be injected into the Natural Resources Fund, President Granger said, adding that a significant percentage will be pumped into the Education Sector to allow for its advancement. The transformation will take place during the ‘Decade of Development’ which will be launched in 2020.

“Many of you sitting here today, students and teachers, will be the beneficiaries of that decade of development. Ten years from now, your lives will be transformed because you would be exposed to the best system of education,” the Head of State told those present.news 20191001 20
It is anticipated that advancements within the Education Sector will result in a positive domino effect. Those advancements would lead to the development of a highly qualified and skilled workforce, and ultimately the expansion of the economy.

However, as the country forges ahead with its developmental agenda, it is important that there is equality and equity across all regions of the country. “Unfortunately, some of our boys and girls in the hinterland have to travel long distances to get to school, sometimes they don’t have the best facilities so we are trying to ensure that the education system, regardless of everything else, is also going to make Guyanese children more equal. Wherever they live, Port Kaituma or Port Mourant they must get the same education. There must be an A grade school in every region of this country,” President Granger said.news 20191001 8
But even ahead of the launch of the ‘Decade of Development’ in 2020, the nation’s teachers and students are already experiencing a positive shift in the Education Sector. The annual budget has now increased by 64 per cent from 2015, with the Education Sector accounting for more than $52B on an annual basis. Since October, 2016, the Government, with support from the Chinese Embassy here, has equipped 9,000 teachers with laptops under its ‘One Laptop per Teacher Initiative.’

Additionally, the Education Ministry is working in conjunction with the Ministry of Public Telecommunications to introduce Information Communication Technologies in schools. To date, more than 175 schools have internet connection. Major emphasis is also being placed on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).

President Granger noted that under the Public Education Transportation Services (PETS), more and more children are able to attend school. To date, through the programme, there are 40 buses transporting children to school at no cost to them.news 20191001 12 Added to that, 4000 bicycles and 12 boats have been distributed where they are needed the most, thereby alleviating the transportation difficulties children face in their quest to attend school.
Turning his attention to the teachers, President Granger said the nation’s educators are being paid better salaries. “We will do everything possible to make the teaching profession one of the best professions to enter in this country. That is why the trainees at CPCE know that their stipends have been increased from what it was in 2015 and we are going to increase it again next year. This year the stipend increased to 66 per cent from what it was in 2015,” he said.

Minister of Education, Dr. Nicolette Henry, in her address, said undoubtedly, education is the most important tool that symbolises growth in any nation. Here in Guyana, she said it is helping to reduce the challenges faced by society, and her Ministry will continue to provide educational opportunities for all in a push to realize the ‘good life.’news 20191001 14

“It is with confidence that I put before today the irrefutable fact that education in Guyana is revolutionizing from Nursery to tertiary. Gaps of disparity are being bridged everyday whether by technological advancement or enhancing of professional training and skills. And I sincerely promise you this is merely the beginning,” Minister Henry told the students and teachers at D’Urban Park.

The Education Ministry, she added, is committed to strengthening its education system to better prepare students with the skills, knowledge and opportunities needed for them to succeed.

“Today’s students need twenty-first century skills like critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and use of digital technologies. In this regard the Ministry of Education is currently focusing on reforming the curriculum to aptly prepare and equip our students with these and other skills relevant for the twenty first century. Our 2019 -2030 Education Sector plan is being designed to bridge the disparity that exists between the hinterland and the coast, the implementation of new technologies for the delivery of education, provision of vocational and technical training for out of school youths, thereby giving them a second chance among other critical aspects of educational growth,” she detailed. With the Petroleum Industry on the horizon, Minister Henry said her ministry will also be implementing programmes in oil and gas at the tertiary, technical and vocational levels, so as to adequately prepare young people for the budding sector.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland; Vice President and Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Sydney Allicock; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Karen Cummings and Chief Education Officer, Dr. Marcel Hutson were among the officials present at the exposition.

The Education Exhibition created a platform for the ministry to showcase the various education opportunities available to the public, development within the education sector, vision of the Education Ministry and the outstanding creativity of the education fraternity.