Ministry of Education, Guyana

Monday, 02 September 2013 00:00

PRESS RELEASE: Schools reopen in Guyana

Today schools across Guyana reopened their doors and welcomed batches of new and continuing students to the new school year. Reports reaching the ministry are that, by and large, the reopening exercise went smoothly countrywide with a few minor exceptions.

The Minister of Education, Chief Education Officer, and all the other senior officers in the Ministry of Education were out visiting schools and making spot checks to ensure things went smoothly.
In Georgetown, the roads were busy with the hustle and bustle of parents getting their children to school on time so as to have them start the new school year punctually. It was a colorful sight to behold as the kaleidoscope of color representing the various school uniforms took over the streets of Georgetown. As was expected, traffic was heavy in and around Georgetown and several streets were congested at times. However this was expertly addressed by the Guyana Police Force Traffic Department whom the ministry would like to commend for a professional job well done.
Schools along the East Coast, East Bank, West Coast and West Bank of Demerara also recorded high student turnout on their reopening. Reports from the other regions also indicated that schools in those areas were fit and ready and opened promptly for their new school year intake.

Parents eager to see their children off to their new schools were very happy to find that schools across the country were opened with teachers present to welcome them and their children. One parent from St. Margaret’s Primary school said: “It was amazing to come here today and find teachers ready and waiting to welcome children to their new classes/school. Everything went smoothly and I was able to leave my daughter in a clean and comfortable classroom with her teacher and other classmates.”

Another parent from St Gabriel’s Primary also expressed satisfaction at the state of readiness of that school. “My son was a bit timid as it is his first day at the school after being transferred here, but after we found his class and his teacher welcomed him to his new class, he quickly settled down with the other children and seems very relaxed and comfortable. The yard is clean and seems quite habitable for children to play. I am very grateful that things went smoothly this morning,” she said.
One student from Annandale Secondary mentioned her eagerness to get on with her work as she prepares for the Caribbean Secondary Examinations Certificate (CSEC) examinations next year.

She said: “I am happy to be back here at school. I had a great vacation adequately mixed with school work. I intend to do my best at CXC and have begun preparing to make my success at those exams a reality.” 

Unfortunately, there were some hiccups in some of the schools in Georgetown and Region 4. At Stella Maris Primary, the Minister expressed unhappiness that the school had failed to register a child who was at the school with her grandmother because of some fees not being paid in a timely manner. The Minister instructed that the child be placed in the classroom anyway and spoke to the child separately. She told the child “what you wear doesn’t matter. It’s what’s in your brain and your heart. Always remember that.” Additionally, The BV PIC was unprepared for their children both in terms of the outside as well as inside the building. The school will be closed until Thursday when the repairs and renovation works are expected to be completed. These repairs are being undertaken by Central Ministry. St Roses High and St Agnes Primary who share a compound also experienced some problems. This was because last night some persons without official authorization locked up some rooms and blocked access of St Agnes to the said rooms. This matter is also being addressed by Central Ministry. Additionally the Moblissa Primary School was not ready because construction works were not finished but school began with children being housed at a nearby Benab. The school would be ready to house the students on Tuesday 3rd September.

Additionally, because protestors have blocked the Kwakwani road, the Education Department of Region 10 was and remains now unable to send food to the Kwakwani Dormitory. Reports reaching the Ministry indicate that the only food items present at the dorm are rice and sugar. A truck carrying food items to the dorm yesterday was greeted by the protestors and turned away. The protestors refused to let the truck through although the Education officers on the truck begged them to let the truck through. The Ministry of Education condemns this behavior and takes this opportunity to remind all involved that the prosecution of one’s rights should never interfere with the enjoyment of another’s rights. Children have a right to an education. This right must never be interfered with. The Ministry has instructed that a flight be chartered to take in the food so as to ensure the children at the Dormitory will have food to eat.

Late Thursday afternoon the Central Ministry learnt that, despite the fact that all schools on the East Coast are historically weeded by the NDCs, three NDCs refused to weed the 26 schools under their jurisdiction. The Ministry is deeply concerned and grossly disappointed that the leadership of these NDC’s waited until the last minute to make their decision, to break away from tradition and not to weed the schools, known. The Ministry is horrified that these NDC’s could so callously and insensitively have treated with the welfare of the children residing and/or going to school in their Neighbourhood. The Ministry notes that these three NDCs are chaired and controlled by the main opposition. The Ministry takes this opportunity to remind all involved that the paramount principle that should guide any decision taken or made in relation to Guyana’s school children must be informed by what would be in the best interest of the children to which the said decision apply. The Ministry is grateful for the proactive work of the Regional Executive Officer and the Regional Education Officer which allowed the Ministry’s and Region’s hard working engineering departments to mobilize and ensure that the schools were weeded even though most of that weeding happened on Sunday and went late into the night.

The Ministry of Education sincerely hopes that it would not see a repetition of some of the problems that arose this year, and urges students to remain focused on the year ahead, and to give of their best so as to be good students and excel. The Ministry also takes this opportunity to thank teachers and parents for their efforts. The Ministry reminds all that parents who are involved in their children’s school life are more likely to see their children doing better as students.

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