$74.4B budgeted for education sector
– several new schools to be built, others reconstructed
With focus on providing equitable access to quality education, the government has budgeted $74.4 billion for the country’s education sector. This caters for reforming the school curriculum, expanding teachers’ training programmes, construction of new schools and establishing robust systems among others.
This year, the education ministry has seen a significant increase to its budget compared to last year’s $60.7 billion.
During his Budget presentation on Wednesday, Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, M.P, said that this allocation is in keeping with the government’s five-year Education Strategic Plan (ESP) 2021-2025-Vision 2030.
“An education system that delivers a modern, model, and adaptive learning experience is an imperative to realising His Excellency’s vision of a world class education for all.”
He further added that, “improved access, quality, and relevance are essential to raising Guyana’s human capital to the levels needed to advance and sustain the imminent transformative economic and social development.”
To this end, some $6.6 billion will be used to construct, rehabilitate and maintain several educational facilities across the country. The Senior Finance Minister explained that construction works will commence on the Prospect Secondary. Reconstruction will be undertaken of the North Ruimveldt and North West Secondary Schools, both destroyed by fire last year.
Construction of nursery schools at Hydronie, Haslington and Vryheid’s Lust; and primary schools at Bamia/Amelia’s Ward, Kaikan, Karabairu, Zeelugt and Oronoque will be undertaken.
Currently, works are ongoing on nursery schools at Queenstown, Martyrsville and Agatash; primary schools at Swan, Vryheid’s Lust, St. Martins, Waramadong; and secondary schools at Abram Zuil and Yarrowkabra.
As it relates to the use of technological devices amid the pandemic, the government plans to equip 300 primary school teachers and 125 secondary school teachers with laptops and computing devices.
Minister Singh said that approximately 11,000 tablets and flash drives loaded with teaching materials will be provided to students at the aforementioned levels to accommodate the growing number of smart classrooms. This transformational approach is budgeted at a cost of $295.7 Million.
“For the first time over 260 schools will be monitored using the Education Management Information System (EMIS) which will allow expanded monitoring and supervision,” he noted.
This year, $1.2 billion has been earmarked to procure textbooks for students.
Additionally, over $20 million will be used to purchase 2,000 micro-science kits for an additional 100 primary schools. This is the first time that the government has provided 100 percent primary coverage.
With this in mind, Minister Singh said that the government aims to improve the nation’s future leaders’ performance on the national and regional standardised tests.
“We aim to have passes on the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) moving from 30 percent in 2021 to no less than 42 percent by 2025, while for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate, performance should move from 30 percent in 2021 to no less than 61 percent by 2025, for students gaining Grades 1 to 3 in five or more subjects, including Mathematics and English.”