President Dr Irfaan Ali said that the key priority issues in several Bartica schools in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) will be addressed immediately.
The announcement came during the President’s visit to Bartica on Wednesday for several meetings.
Before attending the meetings, the President visited the Three Miles Secondary School, Two Miles Primary School, St Anthony’s Primary School, Bartica Secondary School, and St John the Baptist Primary School and interacted with the students and teachers.
He later said that he has “already given instructions” to make needed changes, which will be completed before the end of this year. This will be done using additional resources and not what has been already allocated to the region.
Noting some of the immediate interventions, the President indicated that the Precious Gems Nursery asked for a new walkway and enhanced drainage. “I’ve already told the officers to take this down—that we’re going to have this done for you,” President Ali stated.
The St John the Baptist Primary School asked for a landfilling at the back of the school, furniture and chalkboards. This, the President said, will be completed “long” before the new term begins.
Meanwhile, the Future Builders Nursery requested an extension of its kitchen. This, the President noted, is an indication that the attendance has increased, and the programme is working.
“We brought the school feeding programme to help children, then we brought the kitchen to support the school feeding, now we are hearing…we want an extension of the school kitchen. You know why? Because attendance has increased, and children are going to school because this programme is helping them.”
The extension of the kitchen, President Ali said, “will be done”.
Representatives of the Two Miles Primary requested works on their roof and an expanded kitchen. To fix this, the President noted that he has already spoken to the Regional Executive Officer and the contract to repair the roof has been awarded. Works on expanding the kitchen will be done.
EXPANDED EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMES
President Ali touted the idea of expanding the shade house programme under his Agriculture Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programme in the town.
“Imagine we have a school feeding programme in all our schools. Imagine if every school now, we can have single parents who have children in those schools doing one or two shade houses in every school and supplying the school kitchen with the food from those shade houses. That is how you build economic opportunity. That is what you call the trickle-down effect of investment from the Government. And guess what? You don’t have to imagine it anymore, because I have instructed the Ministry of Agriculture to come here next week and do an assessment to see how we can expand the school shade house programme here.”
The Head of State also pointed out that the Bartica Secondary School made a request for the expansion of their Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) programme. He said he does not only want the school’s programme to be expanded, but the region to become a focal point for TVET adding that, “I want the Ministry of Education to come here and do an assessment so we can do a full-fledged TVET centre to support Region Seven so we can build the skills necessary to support the mining industry.”
President Ali stated that the Government will collaborate with the private sector to build a programme that will support the establishment of the TVET Centre in the region. He also reiterated that the Ministry of Education is working on a programme that will introduce computer coding and other similar programmes for the primary level.