173 NGSA top performers receive Gov’t laptops – President underscores importance of devices in their learning process

Georgetown, GINA, September 18, 2013




A large turnout at the Theatre Guild Playhouse, Kingston today, transformed a simple ceremony to reward outstanding performers at the recent National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) into a grand occasion.


About 173 children from schools across the country who were in the top one percent of the students to pass the NGSA, the successor to the Secondary School’s Entrance Exams (SSEE), were the recipients of laptops, fulfilling a promise made by President Donald Ramotar to the students as a performance based incentive.

President Donald Ramotar and Minister of Education Priya Manickchand with top performers of the National Grade Six Assessment who were recipients of laptops


President Donald Ramotar and Minister of Education Priya Manickchand with top performers of the National Grade Six Assessment who were recipients of laptops


President Ramotar did the honours of presenting each student with the device, encouraging them to take advantage of the life changing opportunities which it has the potential to offer.



“These new technologies nowadays give us the possibility to stay in our homes… and work in any part of the world … particularly Information Communication Technology (ICT),” President Ramotar said.

President Donald Ramotar addressing top performers of the National Grade Six Assessment, parents and education officials at the Theatre Guild Playhouse where laptops were distributed


Today’s event coincides with a list of activities to commemorate Education Month 2013 and adds to the ongoing Information Technology (IT) initiative that seeks to equip the population with the tools necessary for the modern world.


“All that we are giving you is one of the most modern tools today that can help you in your research… communicate… that can put you in contact with some of the most important knowledge in the world today,” President Ramotar said.


The President was at one point to relinquish the task of presenting the devices to Minister of Education Priya Manickchand, but at her request, performed the honours throughout, much to the agreement and applause of parents who obviously wanted captured images of their children with the country’s Head of State.



The recipients, the majority of whom are form one students of Queen’s College, were accompanied by their parents and guardians who looked on with pride and snapped photographs and took video recordings with their phones of the proud moment.

President Donald Ramotar and Minister of Education Priya Manickchand with education officials, National Grade Six Assessment top performers and their parents during a laptop distribution ceremony at the Theatre Guild Playhouse


The overwhelming attendance at today’s handing over ceremony was seen by Minister Manickchand as a testimony to the level of interest and support that parents are showing in their children’s education.


She had echoed similar sentiments at the culmination of a September 13, Education month rally, where she called on parents to be integrally involved in a partnership process she said is necessary for a child’s success in school.



The education sector receives a large portion of the country’s national budget annually, and with the successes that have been achieved, particularly the outstanding performances at the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) exams and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency (CAPE) levels, there is a sense of satisfaction that the investments have been paying off.

Minister of Education Priya Manickchand addressing a large gathering during a laptop distribution ceremony for top National Grade Six Assessment students


Zimeena Rasheed’s 18 Grade Ones and two Grade Twos at this year’s exams, and Guyana topping the region with four out of the eight CXC awards last year are some of the prime examples.


The Government has invested in the first ever learning channel, introduced school feeding and uniform programmes and constructed modern schools with dormitories in the hinterland and remote communities.


Minister Manickchand said the presence of students from schools in far flung areas receiving their laptops today, is a “telling sign” that good performance has been across the board and that resources are equally distributed.


To supplement the 24-hour learning channel, an online University of Guyana programme is in the making that will afford tertiary level tuition available to anyone in any part of the country who has access to a computer and the Internet.


President Ramotar who was last year appointed by United Nations Secretary General Ban-ki-moon to a steering committee to review the education system around the world, told the laptop beneficiaries about the opportunities that they are afforded that were impossible to attain two decades ago.



He described education as the “hook” to tackle inequality and injustice and expressed confidence in the young population taking the lead in promoting the further development of the country.


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