Education system is at its best point ever – Minister Manickchand – at East Street Nursery School opening
Georgetown, GINA, October 28, 2013
Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand has noted that the education system is poised for take-off given its current position, and that the teachers and parents of the East Street Nursery could help the sector achieve greater heights by ensuring the school works at its best.
She was speaking today, at the commissioning of the new East Street nursery School in Georgetown that was constructed by R. Bassoo and Sons to the tune of $38M.
The commissioning comes on the heel of the announcement across the region, of Guyana topping CXC and securing, five of the eight regional awards. “These are all Guyanese sons and daughters, and what was amazing; to me and what I want to bring home forcefully to you, is that these children did not come out of the homes of very wealthy, elite parents. One of them is a daughter of a wood cutter and teacher. Another is the son of a civil servant and his mother is a banker …and so your children here, whether you are a cleaner or sweeper or you are uniformed and you have left work to come here, or you have a degree and your own private little business, your children here are capable of being those children that we celebrated here two days ago, in the next 13 to 14 years,” she noted.
Educationally, Minister Manickchand said, the country is where it should be building-wise and teacher-wise. “This education sector is at the highest point it has ever been. Just recently we graduated the highest number of teachers this country has ever seen; about 849 trained teachers graduated from the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE). We are paying our teachers the best salaries they have ever enjoyed in this country; and this will only improve under this government. And we do not feel as a government that we are doing the people a favour. We believe that when we provide the infrastructure, and all the necessary mechanisms to enable learning in the education system, that we are fulfilling the mandate the people of Guyana have given us when they selected us to be their servants,” the Minister said
Minister Manickchand called on the teachers to do more to ensure the system works in this regard. “To the teachers of this school, it is going to require far more than that trained certificate you have. We will demand of you as a community that you be the best you can be because you are in a place where you have this great burden to produce people who will help to develop Guyana, so that your children and my children could inherit a Guyana that is better than the one we have here today.”
She also said that the parents have to be fully involved in their children’s school lives if East Street Nursery is to be a good school.
“…our best days are yet to come and those best days are in your little children, and so today let us make sure that we commit ourselves that …we will do what we have to do to ensure that it comes out of them, so that Guyana gets to benefit from that so that the world gets to benefit from what your children have to offer,” the Minister said.
The old East Street Nursery school was demolished on July 3, 2013; two weeks after schools were closed for July-August vacation. This placed the contractor under serious pressure to get the building ready under six weeks, which was before the scheduled re-opening of school.
Due to weather and other factors, the construction took eight weeks and the re-opening of the school was delayed.
The Minister also noted the ministry’s appreciation to the parents for being understanding about the delay. She applauded them for not resorting to criticism and protests hereby exasperating “an already difficult situation”. She also singled out the contractor for praise, for working with all the stakeholders and pushing to complete the school. The contractor’s effort should stand as an example of what the relationship, between, Government and contractors should be in the execution of Government projects, she noted.
Head teacher Belinda Cameron was also in high praise of the contractor. She disclosed that he, at his own expense, provided fans for the school and air conditioning her office and the staff room. Cameron was also appreciative of the new physical accommodation, which allows for better spacing and is more conducive to learning.
During the ceremony, the contractor, Ray Bassoo Snr also presented the school with several musical sets for the children’s enjoyment and the school in turn presented him with a plaque to show their appreciation for his efforts.
The East Street Nursery School was founded in January 7, 1968, by the then Former Headmistress of the Winfer Gardens, Winifred Fernandez. Then, the school was housed in the primary school building of Winifred Primary and provided education to 20 under privileged children, who were also provided with a hot meal.
The school came under government’s control in 1976 and was later moved in 1979 to the servants’ quarters of the then ombudsman Kit Nascimento.
The building was extended in 1987, then again in 1988 by SIMAP and in 1994 by the Ministry of Education. Minor repairs were done over the years but in time the school’s foundation deteriorated and the decision was taken to demolish it.