Ministry of Education, Guyana

Monday, 02 September 2013 10:24

Education Ministry steps in to weed school compounds

- accuses NDCs of shirking responsibility

The Ministry of Education was forced to intervene at the last minute to ensure that some school compounds under the purview of Neighborhood Democratic Councils (NDC) in Region Four on the East Coast Demerara were in a state of readiness for today’s re-opening of schools for the new school year.

The Ministry is blaming the People National Congress (PNC)/A Partnership for National Unity (APNU)-controlled NDCs for willfully not executing their customary duties of cleaning the school compounds that fall within their districts.
The negligent Councils include the Beterverwagting/Triumph, Buxton/Foulis and Haslington/Grove NDCs.
According to the Ministry, all other NDC’s assisted in weeding school compounds under their purview.
There are 25 schools that fall under the purview of the various NDC’s in Region Four on the East Coast Demerara.
Minister Priya Manickchand confirmed that her Ministry only received affirmation on Friday last that the three NDC’s had pulled out of the arrangement to weed the school compounds under their jurisdiction.
Some of the schools that would have been affected are; Golden Grove Primary, Golden Grove Secondary, Swami Puranda Primary, St. Andrews Primary, Victoria Primary, Hope Primary, Clonbrook Primary, Ann’s Grove Primary, Ann’s Grove Secondary, Buxton Primary, Bladen Hall Secondary, Buxton Secondary, Enterprise Nursery, Enterprise Primary, New Friendship Nursery, Friendship Primary, Stratsphey Nursery/ Primary, Paradise Primary, Company Road Primary, B.V Secondary, B.V Quamina Nursery, B.V Quamina Primary and Triumph Nursery.
Information reaching this newspaper revealed that the Education Ministry had to spend an estimated $1.3 million to cleanup these school yards that should have been cleared by the NDCs, in preparation for the new school year.
Yesterday, this newspaper observed work being hurriedly done to facilitate the reopening of the affected schools.
These NDCs have been doing this (weeding the schools compound) for years and all of a sudden at the last moment they refused to do it. What is all of this for? To make the government look bad? But we are a caring administration,” Minister Manickchand told this newspaper yesterday, following a tour of the affected schools.
But the NDC Chairmen who are being placed under the microscope are claiming that they are not to be blamed.
According to Chairman of the Beterverwagting/Triumph NDC, Bruce Adams, the NDC does not receive any money from Government to weed school compounds. He said that it is the Regional Democratic Council’s (RDC) duty and responsibility to maintain the school compounds generally.
“They want us to take this additional expense and put it on the Councils to bear. Some of the men that work with us from the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) are being paid by government but they are to look after drainage. However, they ask those men to go do some weeding,” Adams explained
“The men did some weeding but they could only weed the big bushes on the fence and drains that would impede the drainage, but they cannot weed the compound because the grass has to be weeded with a brush cutter.”
Chairman of the Buxton Foulis NDC, Randolph Blair said the weeding of school compound within the Region Four District falls under the RDC and the Regional Education Department.
“That is not the function of the NDC. We could assist and we normally assist, but it is not our function. That is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education through the RDC. However, we have done some cleaning to assist the situation,” Blair noted.
Haslington/Golden Grove NDC Chairman (ag), William Frank also lamented the lack of funds for the purpose of cleaning the schools.
“We would normally assist when funds are available. There is a letter waiting on the Education Minister to weed the Haslington pump dam going to the secondary school, it is in a bad state, and we wrote the Minister because we cannot issue any contract above a certain amount, we are waiting on a reply.”

Article and image compliments of Kaieteur News.

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