Annual Schools’ Championships make grand return

Following a two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 60th Annual National Schools Swimming, Cycling, and Track & Field Championships were officially declared open on Sunday at the Leonora Synthetic Track and Field Facility.

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips

The national inter-school tournament is a collaboration between the Education Ministry and the Guyana Teachers Union.

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, who delivered the feature address, emphasised the importance of coupling academic pursuits with athleticism to mold and produce versatile youth who can make valuable contributions to Guyana.

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips flanked by Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, Permanent Secretary of the Education Ministry, Alfred King, Chief Education Officer, Dr Marcel Hutson, GTU President, Mark Lyte and General Secretary of GTU, Coretta McDonald.

The prime minister also reminded all in attendance that the PPP/C Administration continues to make tenacious efforts to construct, improve and preserve sporting facilities countrywide, pointing out that the construction works on the Linden track and field centre are progressing.

The ceremonial lighting of the cauldron was conducted by the defending champions from District Ten

He said, “We’ve come a long way, and I want to assure you that you have a government that is committed to allocating in every annual budget the money to improve our sporting facilities throughout Guyana.”

Moreover, he disclosed that the government intends to build an additional track facility in Region Six, noting that multi-sport facilities will also be established there. This move is to make sports accessible for all Guyanese youth.

The Leonora track and field facility saw persons from the various districts out in their numbers to support the athletes

“We’ve already expended over $250 million on several community grounds because we recognised that the schools in those communities can utilise them for sporting activities. I am making these points to show you that you have a government that recognises that sport is important for the development of youths in Guyana. It can’t only be the academics,” he pointed out.

Expressing similar sentiments, Education Minister, Priya Manickchand said that the championships emulate the government’s intentions to empower and equip each child in the education system with the necessary tools to succeed.

She said, “We want to make sure that we create and develop not only academically strong and sound students, but students who are all-rounded and confident, and who can hold their own on any field, play any instrument, or speak any language.”

The education minister reiterated the government’s commitment to putting systems in place to enable people to develop and thrive.

She also noted that athletic and academic programmes will be crafted to supply each student with well-rounded capabilities.

“We’re trying to build out a programme where every student who leaves secondary school was exposed to at least one instrument, one sport, one foreign language, a TVET area, and a strong sense of the value of volunteerism. What we want to do is build out a system where every student comes out feeling a bit more confident in their ability to contribute to Guyana,” the minister noted.

The minister pledged that in the coming years, schools across the country will see the implementation of more inclusive and multifaceted programmes to afford students the freedom to explore their abilities.

President of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU), Mark Lyte commended the athletes’ hard work and implored all in attendance to lend their support and encouragement in recognition of these efforts.

Chief Education Officer, Dr Marcel Hutson, Permanent Secretary of the Education Ministry, Alfred King, General Secretary of GTU, Coretta McDonald and other officers of the ministry and GTU were also in attendance at the opening ceremony.

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