The Saraswati Vidya Niketan (SVN) School on Sunday afternoon honoured the graduates of the institution for their outstanding performance at this year’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE).
President David Granger who graced the event, announced that he would be donating $1 million to the school. This, along with a gold plaque to feature the names of the school’s top student each year, beginning from 2016, was handed over by the President.
More than 80 students, along with family and relatives, attended the grand ceremony held at the school, on the West Coast of Demerara, Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara)
For 2016, SVN stands second in Guyana with regard to the number of students who graduated with 11 grades one at the examinations, with 24 of the students copping eight grade ones or more.
Ramkumarie Ramdass copped the top position at the institution, attaining 19 grade ones.
She was greatly honoured by President Granger for her outstanding performance, receiving the President’s Award, along with a cheque for $20,000 and a laptop computer. Both Ramdass and the second best graduating student, Kimberley Najab, were presented with US$500 also.
Najab was also presented with the Prime Minister’s Award of Excellence by Mrs Sita Nagamootoo, the wife of Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo.
The Head of State, during his remarks, underscored the importance of values which are being instilled predominantly at the institution.
According to the President, education is about inculcating values, as the two go hand in hand.
“Education is never a matter of simply getting a job, its values cannot be measured in employment alone. Education is about inculcating values,” he said.
The Head of State, while reflecting on the roots of education in Guyana said, “It is from the families and the religious organisation that our poor foreparents build their children’s education after the end of indentureship and they did this with the values that they instilled.”
He noted that the SVN fully displayed what was learnt from our foreparents in terms of educating students.
“There is no better place than SVN to speak about those values. This very institution is a monument to our diversity. The name itself is not only indicative but also inspirational,” the President stated.
The name Saraswati Vidya Niketan is a merger of Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, and Vidya Niketan which means house, thus meaning House of Knowledge.
The President then praised the school for its outstanding work, noting that it was an example to be followed.
“It is good for us to gather here at the SVN and it is an example not only to the Hindu community but to the entire Region Three and to the rest of the country. Education enhances skills and emancipates the mind from arrogance, from anger and from hatred. Education can achieve a lot, but only if it is accompanied by certain values and this school combines the values that which value education.”
Special invited guest speaker at the event and a former Professor of the University of the West Indies, Clement Sankat lauded the students for their accomplishments.
“I don’t know how you do it, but you students have all done such outstanding work: you are all winners,” he declared.
Sankat congratulated the school’s board for its outstanding performance over the years, noting that the SVN must be extremely proud of its achievements.
He focused his attention on the fact that SVN does not have a National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) marks limit for admittance to the school. Students who gained low marks at the Assessment, such as 320 marks, are admitted. “They did not do well at previous examinations and through this institution, they are opening doors to future careers which they could not have done otherwise,” he stated and praised the SVN.
Principal Swami Aksharananda also praised the students, noting that the institution was proud of them and their accomplishments.
(Photos by Carl Croker)