Kato Secondary School finally commissioned

― as Ministry of Education continues its commitment to providing quality education end cost in excess of $900M

DPI, Guyana, Friday, March 15, 2019

Residents of North Pakaraima, Potaro-Siparuni (Region 8) finally have access to a high-quality and self-sufficient secondary school located in Kato which currently houses 350 students, teachers and auxiliary staff.

The Kato Secondary School, a flagship educational institution, located in Sub-District one, was commissioned on Friday by Minister of Education, Dr. Nicolette Henry. The minister was accompanied by Permanent Secretary, Adele Clarke, Chief Education Officer (CEO), Marcel Hutson, Director of NCERD, Jennifer Cumberbatch, and Assistant Chief Education Officer, June-Ann Gonsalves.

The Education Minister, in her remarks, underscored the importance of education in the development and transformation of lives.

“This is a classic case of dreams becoming reality. Sustainable development is integral to what we do, and it is also the pathway to the future, and we want it for all. Today, the commissioning of Kato Secondary School marks the pathway for growth in this community but more significantly, it represents growth in the education sector.”

Minister Henry further highlighted that in good professional practice, it is crucial to delivering on promises.

“I believe one of our more significant promises as a sector and certainly as a government, is to reduce the disparities between the hinterland and the coastland and to bridge educational gaps and so we would like to ensure that we provide quality education for all of our students in all our communities,” Minister Henry added.

Toshao of Kato, Clifton Ferreira told the Department of Public Information that the school serves as an important training ground to produce more skilled students who will contribute to their communities and by extension, the region.

Parents and residents are breathing a sigh of relief for the final completion and commissioning of the school which was initially constructed by the previous administration but was saddled with defects, hindering students from accessing quality education.

This administration, through its Education Ministry, is committed to the development of all Guyanese children. In this regard, the ministry took seriously its responsibility of delivering quality education to all by rehabilitating the then derelict facility to create an environment conducive to learning.

The Kato Secondary School has been a sore issue for the Ministry of Education. Although a contract was signed to construct the school in December of 2012, the contractor began work in May of 2013 with an initial estimated time of completion set for 2015. However, after much delay, the school was finally declared fit for learning on September 10, 2018, with nine classes ranging from Grades 7 to 9 with a Staff Orientation session being held on August 28 to 30, 2018. It serves seventeen Indigenous communities in the sub-district one area.

Chief Education Officer, Marcel Hutson said that the state-of-the-art facility was completed to serve the community.

“In the current global setting, education is both a necessity and an investment which everybody should embrace with the seriousness that it deserves. Education is critical to the attainment of wealth creation and sustainable economic growth. It is with such an understanding that the Ministry of Education has ensured the completion of Kato Secondary School with the view of intentionally placing the children of this community on a developmental trajectory,” Hutson explained.

The school is fully equipped with internet access and has a photo solar power plant costing $37M.

The facility also houses teacher’s quarters, a dining hall and kitchen, a student dormitory, a main teaching block with a library, a Smart classroom, a Home Economics laboratory, a Science lab, an Information Technology lab, and an Industrial Arts classroom.

The school’s commissioning was in keeping with the Ministry of Education’s mandate to create improved standards and equitable delivery of education nationwide. It is also in keeping with goal four of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which is interested in inclusive and equitable quality education and the promotion of lifelong learning.

Additionally, the Government of Guyana has been working assiduously to fulfill its goal of linking the Hinterland and the coast through Infrastructure, Agricultural production and industry, business, tourism and trade, Education, Health, Telecommunications, and community development, in order to create equal access to improved standards of service in all sectors for all Guyanese.

Nateshia Isaacs

Images: Anil Seelall