Education Ministry’s $21.218B to fund key strategic interventions – estimates approved
GINA, GUYANA, Wednesday, December 21, 2016
A sum of $21.218 Billion has been approved for the Ministry of Education, to fund the provision of key planned interventions in the upcoming year. These 2017 interventions are intended to lay the foundation for the arduous task ahead of the Ministry of rebuilding a solid education system.
The funding was today approved by the National Assembly in the fifth and final day of the consideration of estimates and expenditure for Budget 2017.
The allocation covers:
- Policy Development and Administration-$1.921B
- Training and Development-$2.154B
- Nursery Education-$1.890B
- Primary Education-$3.336B
- Secondary Education-$4.484B
- Post Education/Tertiary Education-$5.326B
- Cultural Preservation and Conservation-$659.385M
Minister within the Ministry of Education, Nicolette Henry defended questions from Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) including former Minister of Education Priya Manickchand on the Ministry’s 2017 allocation. Among those issues clarified by Minister Henry related to the hiring of the Chief Education Officer (CEO.)
Responding to a query posed by MP Manickchand, Minister Henry confirmed that the new CEO will be hired on fixed terms, and not as a contracted employee as previously obtained. This person will therefore only be in receipt of gratuity and other benefits, at the end of his or her tenure at the Ministry, the Minister said.
Minister Henry also clarified to MP Ganga Persaud an increase in the allocation for education subvention and grant from $187.548M to $206.816M. This allocation is covered under the Ministry’s Policy Development and Administration capital work programme. Minister Henry explained that the increase is to cater for the National Accreditation Council (NAC) now under the purview of this programme.
The increased sum also caters for the strengthening of the NAC with six additional staff, the Minister said. The line items usually cover subventions to educational organisations and bodies affiliated with the Ministry of Education, including the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) and the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU). The latter will receive a subvention of $5M.
Manickchand also questioned the increase from $14.017M to $64M for printed and non-printed materials, under the Nursery Education’s current programme. Minister Henry explained that the increase covers the procurement of workbooks, including the Roraima Series, to the tune of $59.4M. Minister Henry later told the House that 5000 of the Roraima workbooks will be procured for distribution to all nursery schools across the country.
Minister Henry also clarified a sum of $76.360M that provided for nursery buildings, under the capital project. Responding to Manickchand, the Minister explained that a sum of $5.3M covers retention payment for the Smyth Street Nursery, on which construction began this year. The remaining sums, she explained, cover the provision of new nursery buildings at Carmelita ($24.3M), Mocha ($22.8M) and the extension of the Turkeyen Nursery ($23.9M).
In response to MP Juan Edghill’s statement that the Early Childhood Education Programme under-performed by some $23M in 2016, Minister Henry told the House that this was a result of the construction of the South Road Nursery which was catered for in 2016, but the Ministry did not proceed with it. The Minister further clarified for Edghill that the Ministry has scrapped the construction of the school in its entirety.
Manickchand also asked Minister Henry to provide a breakdown of an allocation of $99.663M that provides for primary schools buildings. Minister Henry in responding explained that the funding covers the construction of an annex to the St. Stephen’s Primary School and the provision for Information Technology laboratories at 10 schools including Mabaruma, Windsor Forest and Queenstown Primary Schools.
She also informed Manickchand that a provision of $465.870Million under the Ministry of Education’s capital Secondary Education covers $61.7M for the Kato Secondary. Also covered under the sum is the rehabilitation of the grounds at North Ruimveldt, the construction of a cafeteria and multipurpose complex at Queen’s College, the extension of the Bishops High and the St Rose’s Secondary Schools , the construction of a science laboratories at Vryman’s Erven and Canje Secondary Schools , Minister Henry said.
By: Macalia Santos