Government will invest in nation’s STEM talents -President David Granger at St. Joseph’s graduation
Georgetown, Guyana – (November 30, 2017) President David Granger, yesterday, told the St. Joseph High School’s 2017 graduating class and other students present at the graduation ceremony that Guyana, at this time of its history, critically needs their skills, expertise and knowledge in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) so that it can develop its resources and become one of the most prosperous countries in this hemisphere.
The Head of State, who in addition to the ‘Boats, Buses, Bicycles plus Breakfast and Books’ or Five B’s programme, has established the National Endowment for Science and Technology (NEST) aimed at boosting the Science and Technology laboratories in schools said that Government will do all it can to ensure that children, who are gifted in those areas are provided with all the resources they need to develop their talents for the good of Guyana.
“The Class of 2017, not only at St Joseph, but everywhere in this country, will inherit the biggest, most beautiful and bountiful country in the Caribbean Community – the ‘green state’ – that is rich in natural resources and that is the habitat of some of rarest flora and fauna on earth. The ‘green state’ is one that will preserve its biodiversity, protect its environment and promote energy use from renewable sources. This graduating Class can combine its human capital with the country’s natural capital to generate the growth of the ‘green state.’ The country, to do so, needs scientists and engineers,” he said.
The NEST endowment, he said, is not a fluke or gimmick but it is his commitment, which is aimed at ensuring that the skill sets needed to develop the country are honed and encouraged. “We need the Arts and Humanities, but we also need Science and Technology and… I ask that we give a special encouragement to children, who are gifted in Science and Technology. We shall give special facilities to schools and provide the resources for children to enter the field of Science and Technology,” President Granger said.
The Head of State also used the opportunity to honour former student of St. Joseph and celebrated historian, Ms. Elsa Vesta Goveia by announcing the introduction of the Elsa Vesta Goveia Shield for the Best Graduating Student in History at the St. Joseph High School in the celebration of her career, describing her as the most respected in her field in Guyana and the English-speaking Caribbean. The President, who had won an academic award, which bears the historians name, said that St. Joseph’s graduates have inspired generations of students in their quest for academic excellence.
“Ms. Goveia also was the first female student to win the British Guiana Scholarship in 1944. She was the first West Indian to win the Pollard Prize for English History, the first Professor of West Indian History and the first female to hold a Chair at the University College of the West Indies. I regard her as the most respected Historian in the Caribbean,” he said. The first student to receive the Shield is Ms. Deneita Fredericks, the best graduating history student at St. Joseph in 2017.
Meanwhile, Headmaster of the School, Mr. Natham Raghubansi, in his remarks, said that the school is focused on creating the ideal, well-rounded student. While the year was not without its challenges, he noted that the administration, students and parents have worked together to achieve a 97.5 percent pass rate in five or more subjects, inclusive of Mathematics. Additionally, he noted that with the support from President Granger, it is expected that the science and technology laboratories will be further upgraded in the new academic year.
Mr. Azarodeen Khan graduated as the Valedictorian with 13 subjects; seven Grade Ones and six Grade Twos and received the President’s Prize, which includes a laptop, a plaque, a certificate and a gift voucher of $20,000, while Ms. Fredericks received a $10,000 Book voucher in addition to the Shield.