Westminster Secondary school poised to deliver well-rounded students – Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand

In keeping with its mandate to achieve universal secondary education, the state-of-the-art Westminster Secondary School was constructed in Region Three and today marked the first day that students have entered the school for physical classes. The school was completed in April of this year and can accommodate 1000 students along with 60 teachers.

The Honourable Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand who visited the school to interact with the students and teachers on their first day, said that the Westminster Secondary School which is located in the Parfaite Harmonie community, is well poised to deliver well-rounded students.

Minister of Education Priya Manickchand (seated centre) takes a photo with the teachers of the Westminster Secondary School and Regional Education Officer, Mr. Devindra Persaud (seated second from right)

She said that the school will mean a lot to parents in the region since many will no longer have to think about paying for transportation for their children to attend schools out of the region. During her visit today, Minister Manickchand engaged with students who previously attended Dolphin Secondary (Georgetown) and Covent Garden Secondary (East Bank of Demerara) among other schools which are located further away from their home.

Another benefit that the school has already brought to the region and the education sector is that it allowed for the closure of three secondary departments or ‘Primary Tops’ in primary schools in the region, specifically at Goed Fortuin Primary, La Grange Primary and the Windsor Forest Primary school.

Minister Manickchand speaking to teachers during her visit today

Minister Manickchand explained that children are usually placed in Primary Tops after they write the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) and there is no space remaining in any of the secondary schools in the region. These children remain in primary school but are taught secondary level work.

She said that this is not the proper or optimum way to educate children and as such with the completion of the Westminster Secondary School the children who attended the three Primary Tops in the region can now benefit from a proper secondary education in an institution that is equipped to deliver.

“I am very very glad. The school is well poised to deliver top students in this region and therefore children who will be well-rounded to take over Guyana,” the Education Minister remarked.

Sections of the Home Economics Department at the school

Speaking to teachers in the auditorium, Minister Manickchand said that they are teaching at a school which the Ministry of Education intends to be one of the high performing schools in Guyana.

She told teachers, “We hope that we have in you the best because the kids who are coming here are children whose lives you can change. Your purpose is to change the lives of children and their families, transform children who entered with certain biases but leave without those biases and have a quality life.”

Minister Manickchand told the staff that today is a historic day for Region Three, the community and the education sector. She said that the teachers have a blank canvass at a brand new school to create something great.

There are eleven departments at the school that will equip learners with the skills that will help them to function effectively in society. The eleven departments are Allied Arts, Agricultural Science, Business Studies, English, Home Economics, Industrial Technology, Information Technology, Mathematics, Modern Languages, Science, and Social Studies. Each department is equipped with trained teachers who will ensure that the curriculum is transmitted in a safe and conducive environment. The school also has a permanent Welfare Officer, Mr. Azharuddin Zahaur.

A view from the front of the Westminster Secondary School

After completing five years of study at Westminster Secondary School, students would be entered as candidates to sit the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate Examination (CSEC). Embracing their motto “Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow”.

In addition to the CSEC program, the school will be offering the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) program. It is a competency-based approach to training, assessment, and certification. The CVQ certificate is recognized across the Caribbean.

The school also has a Conference Room, Reading and Research Center, Library, Language, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Agricultural Science Laboratories.  In addition, the school has thirty-two classrooms, a dance studio, an Audio/Visual, Music Room and a large auditorium. Within the next three years, the school would be offering subjects for the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination to students of Region 3.

The school was opened for the first time on September 6, 2021, for online learning with Ms. Tulsidai Raghubansi as the Headteacher and Ms. Lisa Henry-Aaron as the Deputy Headteacher along with a team of fifteen (15) senior teachers and thirty -four (34) junior teachers. Over the recent months, these teachers were trained to use different online modalities such as Google Classrooms, Google Meet, and Google Teams to deliver online classes. Further, teachers were exposed to EMIS, Microsoft Excel and Google drive which will enhance the delivery of education and the completion of records at Westminster Secondary.