On Friday, September 16, the Ministry of Education held its annual Rally to highlight the achievements and challenges, while hailing the contributions of the numerous stakeholders in education.
The Rally began at the Stabroek Market, then along Brickdam and culminated at the Jubilee Park. Students, teachers, parents and Departments of Education from the across the country, about 7000 in total, were present to hear from His Excellency David Granger—President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine--Minister of Education, and Marcel Hutson—Chief Education Officer (ag.).
The Chief Education Officer (ag.), Marcel Hutson, in his remarks said that the Rally was symbolic of the Ministry’s desire to forge collaboration among stakeholders, evidenced by the participation of teachers, students, parents, NGOs, the Guyana Police Force, and the business community in the Education Rally. “The time has come for us to focus on the recognition of education not as an event confined to a month but a movement,” Mr. Hutson noted. He added that the progress of Guyana could be no swifter than our progress in Education and that the human mind was a fundamental resource, which must be cultivated and nurtured now. He continued by noting that education has the ability to propel individuals out of a state of social, economic, and moral decadence. The role of parents and teachers in the education process is vital. Mr. Hutson said that parents must act as protectors, sustainers and motivators. “Parents must look out for their children, Parents must encourage their children to perform well in school,” he added.
Mr. Hutson also called on the corporate community to continue to adopt schools and contribute its resources, be it financial, human or physical in the quest to create the new Guyana Child.
The Honourable Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, reiterated the importance of education to the development of Guyana as a nation. He encouraged stakeholders, specifically teachers and parents to create an environment that would nurture each child’s unique ability. The Minister acknowledged the need to improve teacher salaries, as teachers continue to impart and cultivate a passion for learning in their classrooms every day. Dr. Roopnaraine also touched on a few pertinent issues influencing education delivery, such as the abolition of corporal punishment, adequate facilities for sports and teaching and the reintroduction of music into schools across the country. He took the opportunity to remind the children of the importance of having a balanced life, one that allows them to achieve academically and develop their other gifts. In concluding, the Minister committed to facing the challenges and, through partnerships, to improving education across the board.
His Excellency President David Granger addressed the crowd next. Addressing the children, President Granges said, “Each one of you is important…Each one of you matters and that is what education is about.” The President said that education is important and that each child has a right to it because it is an entitlement. He said that it is the responsibility of everyone; every stakeholder must be involved in ensuring that each child gets the best education. He continued by saying that the first part of the theme for Education Month, “Each Child Matters,” is not only a motto but it is also a mandate, an instruction, a directive that is given to the Ministry of Education to ensure that each child receives the best education.
The President called on each child to be an ‘A Student.’ He explained that by ‘A Student’ he means that each child must have Access to education, each child must Attend school, and each child must strive to Attain the highest possible level of education. He said that students should not have to travel very far to go to school and that schools must be equipped with the necessary materials and facilities to teach.
Addressing access to education, the President said that while the Ministry will improve school facilities and construct new schools, the Government wants to provide quality teachers capable of delivering quality education. President Granger also encouraged schools to become green schools adding that, “when I go a school yard I want to see things growing, I want to see trees and plants and flowers.” He encouraged schools to participate in National Tree Day, observed on October 1 every year, so that environs at each school can become green; participate in sustainable waste management; and utilize solar power for electricity, “schools must not be a place of debris. Schoolyards must not be places for junk and broken furniture; they must be places for trees and green plants free from litter and filth,” the President posited.
His Excellency also spoke of his Three B’s initiative, which aims to provide transportation for children to attend school regularly. In concluding, President Granger spoke about the desire to see young people achieve excellence. He encouraged students to cultivate a hunger for learning, as excelling at school was the pathway to a successful life and developed Guyana.
The Education Month Rally saw performances by Tennicia DeFreitas, Venilla, students of the Lodge Secondary School, and Steel Bands from North Ruimveldt and Buxton Secondary Schools.
Education Month 2016 is being observed under the theme: “Each Child Matters: Stakeholders Unite for the Enhancement of Education.”