By Tracey Khan – Drakes
[www.inewsguyana.com] –Education Minister Priya Manickchand has justified her decision to have her daughter attend a private nursery institution, even as she continues to boast of the many gains and growth of the public arm of the education sector.
At her end of the year press conference today, Friday December 12, Manickchand stated that the Constitution has given her the right to choose what is in the best interest of her children, as she admitted that as the woman in charge of the country’s education sector and promoting its growth, she is being looked at differently.
In response to the question posed at the news conference, Manickchand explained, “When she turned three years…she wasn’t allowed into the public school because she was a month younger than she needed to be and she couldn’t get into a public school; if she did you would ask me now why I broke the rules to allow my child into a school that I wasn’t allowing other people’s children into.”
She further explained, “there was a private school that said they would take her and they did…I would ask you to remember that she has another parent who also makes decision for her and that other parent felt it was in her best interest given the place she was at to have her start school at the time that she did.”
The Education Minister noted that if her daughter is to now be placed in the public school system, she would be demoted because of her age.
“If I were to put her back into a public school now because she is now of age, I would have to demote her a year so she would have to go down a year, she is now in upper nursery and she would have to go into lower nursery and I know of no parent who would do that to their child,” Manickchand told Reporters.
After realizing that thousands of children were unable to start nursery school in 2013 – the same year Minister Manickchand’s daughter started school – she took a decision to have the age of attendance changed in 2014 which saw over 3,000 children starting school.
The question was then posed whether the Minister would have her younger son attend the public school system since it now allows for children at the age of 3 years to start.
She responded with some amount of uncertainty.
“He’s only two, I think schooling for him arises in 2016…I didn’t even go that far as yet…but again whatever decision, I don’t know, I don’t know what will be happening in 2016 September. I can’t say now whatever decision I make for my children will be what I believe what their father believes.”
Minister Manickchand has been heavily criticized for her decision; however, she maintains it is in the best interest of her child.