The table has taken a positive turn for the Kingston Practical Institute (KPI), thanks to Digicel Guyana, which undertook to refurbish it to the tune of over US $10,000.The keys to the upgraded institution, formerly known as the Kingston Practical Instruction Centre (KPIC), was formally handed over to the Ministry of Education on Tuesday during a well-attended ceremony.

Technical Advisor to the Minister of Education, Mr Vincent Alexander, during his delivery of the feature address at the handing-over ceremony, commended Digicel for fulfilling its corporate obligation by contributing to the educational development of Guyana’s 20161103 7
As a past student of the school, Alexander said he was particularly proud of Digicel, because it has done what no other corporate entity has ever thought of doing in the past.
“We’ve had a history where corporate responsibility has been negative in the past, and has hindered the development of this school,” Alexander said, adding that schools like the KPI are commonly labelled as institutes for underachievers.
Noting that there’s no shame in attending such a school, Alexander said, “I don’t want to think that I’m an underachiever; there’s nothing about technical education that has to do with underachievement.”news 20161103 9
He has advised students that they too should be serious in fulfilling their educational pursuits and must not spend their time at the centre in recreation lest they hinder growth and development.
“Coming here is not a day off, coming here is not a get away from school. Coming here is just changing the classroom to do another subject, a subject which is very important to your own growth and development and very important to the country’s growth and development,” Alexander charged.

He said technical education, though taken lightly by many, drives a country’s development and even at the highest social levels, it is vital.
“All those academics and white collar people will have no place in life if we didn’t have a society driven by technology, by technicians and by people who have gone through technical education,” Alexander told the gathering.
Meanwhile, Chief Education Officer, Marcel Hutson said it is important for all stakeholders to unite for the enhancement of education as “each child matters”.
He viewed Digicel’s act of enhancing the school’s infrastructure as an epiphany of what the Ministry of Education is administering.
He too called for the removal of the myth that technical and vocational education is for underachievers, and said becoming successful in the technical field take certain academic knowledge.
He said technical people are essential to 20161103 8
“For you to really be effective in this kind of education you have to be academically inclined. And therefore we must remove that myth from our psyche that institutions such as these are for underachievers… As a matter of fact, if any nation is going to develop and if any nation is going to progress in any significant way, the technical people are critical, they are essential to that process,” Hutson said.
He urged teachers at the institute to be effective in executing their duties. He said the latest construction work ensured that adequate space is available to accommodate a more private atmosphere.
“… Teaching could be more significant, it could be more interactive and you have the quiet time where you could actually impart information with respect to what you do as teachers… you ultimately will produce a group of people who will enhance education and who will actually help us to fulfill that part of our mission statement which speaks to modernising education.”
He urged the students to utilise their time effectively and care the facility so that it can benefit students in many years to come.

Cell-phone service provider Digicel has invested over US $10,000 in the project to rehabilitate the building which is more than a decade old.
Marketing Manager, Jacqueline James said the project was proposed as part of Digicel Guyana’s ‘Waves’ competition, by two of the company’s staff members, Workforce Analyst, Rowena Elliott and Senior Workforce Analyst, Yancey Heywood.
In its quest to improve the lives of Guyana’s youths and develop them, Digicel continues to reach out to the needs of the community and ‘Waves’ is one way of accomplishing that.
James said Digicel employees compete annually through the programme by submitting project proposals and this year Elliott and Heywood’s submission of proposal, including photographs of the old KPI building won the project’s competition.
Works recommended included restoration of the classrooms on the ground floor and “minor fixing-up” on the top floor. While the US$10,000 prize was not enough to fund the entire project, Digicel continued to pump more funds into the project.

“Today we have a reinforced foundation… it was wood so now we have concrete, a concrete-based foundation. We have new classrooms for woodworking, mechanic, metal-work, technical drawing, brickwork and wielding. And each classroom (is) separated so there is not one leading into the other. Each one has their own identity,” James explained.

She said that while minor work is still left to be done, Digicel will continue to improve the facility as time goes by.

“We want to restore it to its glory,” James said.