Education is non-partisan – Min Manickchand calls on opposition to support budget 2023

Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand has extended an open invitation to the APNU+AFC Opposition to collaborate with the government to continue providing the best possible education for the nation’s children.

The minister was defending the 2023 budget in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand

Minister Manickchand stressed that education is non-partisan and should be above political divisions, noting that if the opposition does not support the budget, it is opposing various initiatives such as the education cash grant, building schools in the hinterland, addressing special education needs, providing buses and boats for transportation, textbooks and training for teachers.

“We in the PPP/C are thankful that our vision is not hitched to the APNU’s wants and needs. We would like you [the opposition] to come along with us and I am inviting you here openly. Anytime you are ready to work with me I am ready to work with you,” she said.

The minister reiterated that the government is committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure the education system is of the highest standard.

“There is much we can do together for the children of this nation. But I’m also saying this to you, if you’re going to cut your nose off to spite your face.

“If you’re going to try to harm the children to get cheap political points, we will do this alone,” she asserted.

This year, the government has allocated $94.4 billion to the education sector, an increase from $72.8 billion in 2022.

Some of the programmes and initiatives to be implemented during the fiscal year were highlighted.

Of the $94.4 billion, $12.4 billion has been dedicated towards the construction, rehabilitation, extension, and maintenance of educational facilities.

These include the construction of secondary schools in Hosororo in Region One, Patentia in Region Three, Orealla in Region Six, Prospect on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD), Good Hope on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD), Yarrowkabra on the Soesdyke-Linden Highway, and North Ruimveldt in Georgetown.

The sum of $2.1 billion was also allocated for the continuation of the National School Feeding Programme which will provide breakfast and hot meals, as well as juices and biscuits to over 85,000 pupils.

The government plans to spend $3.4 billion to purchase more textbooks for use at the primary and secondary levels.

The ‘Because We Care’ cash grant will also be increased to $35,000. Each child will also receive the $5,000 school supplies and uniform grant.

Additionally, an amount of $3.7 billion is allocated for the management and expansion of operations at the University of Guyana’s Turkeyen and Berbice campuses.

Minister Manickchand reiterated the government’s commitment to making university education free while reminding the National Assembly that it was the coalition administration that raised the fees by 35 per cent.

“We said very clearly we are going to find a pathway to remove the debt that students have already occurred and make university free in the first five years,” she affirmed.

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