Sod turned for construction of the Prospect Secondary School
– Over 1000 students to benefit
– Education Minister says it will be completed within timeline
(February 5, 2021) – The sod was turned today at the site on which the Prospect Secondary School will be built. The state of the art secondary school will serve to provide access to quality education at the secondary level for students living along the East Bank of Demerara corridor.
Speaking at the historic ceremony, the Honourable Minister of Education Priya Manickchand explained that the construction of the school will serve to eradicate some of the present challenges on the East Bank of Demerara as it relates to providing quality secondary education.
She said that presently, there are eight Secondary Departments within Primary Schools known as ‘Primary Tops’ and approximately 450 students being taught in auditoriums in three Secondary Schools on the East Bank of Demerara.
She said that the Ministry of Education wants to abolish these secondary departments and allow students that are being taught in less than desirable conditions to be placed in schools that will allow them to receive a high quality of education.
Minister Manickchand that the United Nations had reported that Guyana achieved Universal Primary Education between the years 2012 to 2014. As such, she said that the Ministry of Education is on the move to achieve Universal Secondary Education.
To achieve this milestone, the Education Minister said that in 2014, the Ministry of Education sought and received funding from the World Bank for the Guyana Secondary Education Improvement Project (GSEIP). She said that under this project the Secondary schools that are currently under construction at Good Hope on the East Coast of Demerara, West Minster on the West Bank of Demerara and at Yarowkabra on the Linden/Soesdyke Highway were catered for in addition to this school that will be built at Prospect.
Minister Manickchand noted that the approval for these schools was granted in 2014 under the GSEIP. She added that in 2015 her government left office, and upon returning five years after, in 2020, none of the schools is completed thereby affecting 3000 students who should have been placed in those schools.
The Education Minister credits the lack of progress on these projects to the lack of leadership that was at the helm of the Ministry during those years. However, she assured the parents and students present today that the Government of Guyana is committed to ensuring that the construction of the Prospect Secondary School will not suffer from lacklustre management. She said that she hopes that the entities that will bid to be awarded the contract to construct the school are persons that are patriotic and understand the importance of the school to the 1000 students it will accommodate.
Sounding a warning to contractors, Minister Manickchand said that if the company awarded the contract to build the school is not honouring its contractual obligations, they will be removed to make way for another company that can manage the project.
Moreover, Minister Manickchand appealed to the parents present that even with the Ministry creating access to quality education, the absence of parental support will cost children opportunities.
Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Education, Mr. Alfred King said that this project will be moving the Ministry closer to realising Universal Access to Secondary Education.
He said that while Guyana is moving to provide the educational space and access to quality education, there must be efforts to provide the experiences that will speak to quality.
He said that this project will complement the similar projects at Good Hope and Westminster. He said that the school not only caters for the traditional classroom space but also facilities catering for the Allied Arts whereby there will be a studio for the performing arts, a science laboratory, a state of the art library and an Information Communication Technology (ICT) laboratory.
Chief Education Officer, Dr. Marcel Hutson during his remarks said that today’s ceremony was significant in the calendar of events for the Ministry. He said that it is evidence of the high premium placed on education by the Ministry and the Government of Guyana.
He said that the Ministry of Education had done the research and was able to decide on having the school constructed in the Prospect community. He said that the construction of this institution is being driven by the Ministry’s Strategic Plan 2020 – 2025.
Dr. Hutson also noted that such a project is founded on the pillars of the Sustainable Development Goal Four; Access, Quality, Equity and Lifelong Learning. He commended the Honourable Minister for her astute leadership in the Ministry to ensure that it continues along a path that serves the needs of citizens.
The Regional Education Officer, Ms. Tiffany Harvey said that the Region Four is grateful for the addition of a secondary school in the region, particularly one of such high standard. She said that the Region stands to gain tremendously from the project.