His Excellency, the President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, Brigadier David Arthur Granger, Honourable Minister of Education Miss Nicolette Henry, other Ministers of the Government, members of Parliament, members of the Diplomatic Corps, Senior officers of the Ministry of Education, special guests, other officials of the Ministry of Education, teachers, parents, students, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen, let me extend a special good morning to you and welcome you to this very significant activity in commemoration of Education Month. Today is significant, it is significant in the sense that we are making a statement of the necessity and importance of education.
Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education, and the human mind is our fundamental resource. It is imperative that as a nation we provide every opportunity for the expansion and growth of this fundamental resource that will promote the development of our communities and by extension our nation. It is in this context the theme for Education Month this year was carefully chosen, that is, “Promoting Wellness in Communities through Quality Education”.
Quality education is critical to the wellness of communities and our nation. You might be asking yourself what is wellness. Wellness in this context may be defined as an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices towards a more successful existence. Quality education therefore impacts wellness since it enables people to develop all of their attributes and skills to achieve their potential as human beings and members of society through the creation of an enabling environment. In the words of Delors Commission (UNESCO, 1996): “Education is at the heart of both personal and community development; its mission is to enable each of us, without exception, to develop all our talents to the fullest and to realise our creative potential, including responsibility for our own lives and achievement of our personal aims”.
Quality education is a human right and a public good. It is against this backdrop that we at the Ministry of Education have been working assiduously to ensure that our children from every part of Guyana including the hinterland, enjoy the best possible education. We are constantly seeking ways to improve the quality of education delivered to our people. In this regard we have focused on:
- Improving the Quality of Teacher Education
- Aligning Teaching- learning Resources to Improve Students’ Outcomes
- Improving Physical Facilities.
- Fostering Community Alliances
- Strengthening Management and Supervision of the School System
- Promoting Health and Family Education in Schools. So that students will be sensitive to the importance of making wise decisions in relation to their health and conduct.
- Promoting sports and music in schools with a view of creating rounded students in our communities.
We are cognizant of the special attention that must be given to our schools in the hinterland in particular with a view of closing the gap in performance between such schools and those on the coast. Our efforts have already begun to bear fruit as we have seen the performance of students at our recent National Grade 6 and CSEC results.
All our efforts are, and will be based on our belief that quality education is one of the most basic public services. Our efforts are based on the belief that quality education does not only enlightens but also empowers citizens, and enables them to contribute to the maximum extent possible, to the social and economic development of their communities. We believe that we are on the verge of a magnificent turn around in our education sector. However, a union of the school, home and community is critical to the development and sustainability to this process. I believe the development and sustainability of this process are dependent on our approach to leadership, which is, leadership that embraces vision, compassion, service and a recognition of human beings for who they are and what they are worth.
We salute our hard working educational officials, we salute our teachers, our parents and we salute our partners in UNICEF, UNESCO, CARICOM, the business community, and all other stakeholders.
Let us continue to work together; together we can do the extraordinary!
God bless you all and welcome! Welcome! Welcome!