Managing Director of BK International Inc., Brian Tiwari, has assured Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, that his company will complete the construction of the US$4.082 million Good Hope Secondary School by May 22, 2021.
Tiwari made this promise following a tour of the facility with Minister Manickchand on Tuesday.
Manickchand, in addressing the contractor, spoke about the importance of the school to Region Four, particularly the students living in communities along the East Coast of Demerara.
Children from villages such as Paradise, Plaisance, Enmore, Good Hope and other communities along the East Coast of Demerara corridor, are in line to benefit from the school.
But, because the facility is still incomplete, the ministry had found itself in an unfortunate position last September, when pupils, who were awarded a place at the school, could not occupy by the facility.
“We have 1,000 children that can come into the school and add to the manpower and skills set that the country has, and make their communities better,” Minister Manickchand reasoned.
Chief Engineer at BK International Inc., Ganesh Sawh, was also present during the visit and similarly committed to completing the school by May 22, 2021.
According to Sawh, a major aspect of the project left to be completed relates to the electrical work on the school.
With construction starting in October 2018, the school had been earmarked for completion in January, 2020. However, now, over 15 months behind schedule, the school is still to be handed over to the Ministry of Education.
With this new commitment of the May, 2021, completion, the ministry is hopeful that the school could be utilised from September, 2021, should schools be reopened by then.
The construction of the school falls under the multi-million-dollar Guyana Secondary School Education Improvement Project (GSEIP), funded by the World Bank.
The school is one of six that was conceptualised under the project. This project has since been revised to cater for four schools.
The visit to the Good Hope Secondary School follows a recent visit to the US$4.7 million Westminster Secondary, at La Parfait Harmonie, on the West Bank of Demerara. Westminster is another school catered for under the GSEIP, and is scheduled to be the first school completed under the project.
The other schools being constructed under the GSEIP project are the Yarrowkabra Secondary School, which has also been hindered by construction woes, and the Prospect Secondary School, for which the ceremonial sod-turning exercise was recently done.
The new secondary schools are part of the government’s overarching plan to achieve universal secondary education. Universal secondary education entails every Guyanese child of the required age having access to secondary education.
The schools are each being built to accommodate approximately 1,000 students and will allow the Ministry of Education to eliminate all primary tops across the country.
In Guyana, “primary top schools,” are considered primary schools with a secondary school department, which is used as an alternative for pupils who did not attain enough marks at the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) to be placed at a secondary school.
Though a traditional secondary school runs from Grades Seven to 11, classes at “primary top” schools run from Grades Seven to Nine, and the students are usually transferred to a secondary school after writing the National Grade Nine Assessment (NGNA).
Minister Manickchand, during her recent tour of the facility at Good Hope, was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Alfred King; Chief Education Officer, Dr. Marcel Hutson; GSEIP Coordinator, Jimmy Bhojedat; Education Officer II, Adrian Elgin and representatives from a consultancy firm, Deen and Partners/SRKN Engineering.