Balanced academic life for Guyana’s children essential – Minister Manickchand

Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, M.P, has underscored the administration’s monumental plans towards balancing the academic life of the nation’s children through sport.

Minister Manickchand said if Guyana wants to produce and retain wholesome children, specifically from the devastating impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, studies have shown that they cannot succumb to the urge to do only academics.

Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, M.P, engages a student during the launch of the ‘Five for Fun’ initiative.

The minister made the statement Tuesday, during the launching ceremony of the ‘Five for Fun’ initiative, at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, Homestretch, Georgetown.

“We have to balance the two lost [school] years with getting whole productive children. The recommendations and the studies really are exactly what Guyana has done, even before those studies were out, really are about innovatively reforming what your academic programme looks like from ministries of education, to make sure that we don’t have another kind of pandemic/epidemic on our hands with children who are not engaged in sport,” Minister Manickchand noted.

Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport, Charles Ramson Jr. M.P.

She relayed that the education ministry has set its sights on producing competent children at the end of secondary school. They must be involved in a sport, know at least one foreign language, and play a musical instrument, as well as partake in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) studies. 

The minister emphasised that the ‘Five for Fun’ initiative which is designed to appeal to children between ages eight to eleven years, is aligned with the ministry’s aim to ensure the educational life of children is balanced, hence the immediate response to accommodate the programme.

The new format of cricket is a joint venture between the Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the Republic Bank Financial Holding Limited.

A section of the gathering during the launch of the ‘Five for Fun’ initiative.

The programme will complement the already established FIFA-funded Football for Schools Programme, which seeks to make football more accessible to boys and girls age four to fourteen.

Minister Manickchand assured that the implementation of the programme will see engaged diverse participation across the three counties with hope to expand the programme in the future.

We believe that out of this we will see not only the cricketers in the few years’ time, but we are going to see more wholesome health behaviour arising out of the good consequences that come from any kind of team sport, any kind of working together where far more that cricket will be taught on those field, children will learn to get along with each other and will see the value in varying talents,” she added. 

Meanwhile, the initiative has also received full support from the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport. Minister, Charles Ramson Jr. M.P, believes the new undertaking will advance sport in the education field, a move he pointed out, that ties in well with President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali’s ‘One Guyana’ vision.

Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, M.P, shows off her cricket skills during the launch of the ‘Five for Fun’ initiative.

“I cannot emphasise enough how important the leadership of the country first of all and the leadership of multiply tiers are for us to be able to move this initiative, and all of the programmes connected to the country that are aimed specifically to advancing the welfare and progress of people, so that when we look and examine what we are looking to achieve we are all seeking the same thing, we want better for ourself,” he underscored.

Minister Ramson said after some years, the ministry is now seeing a renewed interest and full cooperation of all the sport associations. The agencies are now critically involved in major consultative process, and decision making to advance the 12 core sports in Guyana.   

Guyana will see some $3.2 billion in sport, with a $2.4 billion pumped into capital investment. Last year government spent just over $200 million on community grounds and this year about $250 million will be utilised.