Manickchand blasts former Govt over unpreparedness of education sector amid Covid-19

L-R: Education Minister Priya Manickchand and former Education Minister Nicolette Henry

Former Education Minister Nicolette Henry was on Wednesday scolded by her successor Priya Manickchand after the former government official raised concerns over the fact that Guyana is behind its Caribbean counterparts in training teachers in ICT in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But Minister Manickchand quickly pointed out that it is the former government that wasted valuable time attempting to holding on to power, instead of preparing the education system for the realities of pandemic.

“Other Caribbean countries have finished training people, and she (Henry) was disappointed that Guyana had not finished — the same honourable lady who was in the seat to make sure training happened less than six weeks ago, but did nothing about it! And you have the gall to stand here now and tell us what people should have gotten?” Manickchand expressed.

“I would have liked to come into the Ministry and find a nicely-laid-out plan that I could just execute. Unfortunately, that was not there… we know in this country that the reason nothing happened in that five months when other Caribbean countries were scrambling to serve and train their people. The question of why our people weren’t trained has to be laid at the feet of the former Minister!”

Minister Manickchand noted that even though Government is hampered by challenges it inherited, including connectivity, availability of devices, teachers’ ability, it will continue to push on and find solutions to ensure that students can be educated, despite the COVID pandemic.

“So, for the honourable member to stand in this house and bemoan the fact that the rest of the Caribbean has been trained and we haven’t, we would like to know why? Why is it that teachers and parents and students did not receive service in the last five months?” Manickchand asked.

“What we know is that we will not be neglecting our people like that. And as soon as we came into office, we announced what measures we would take, and we have been working feverishly to get them done.”

General and Regional Elections were held since March 2, 2020, but it took five months before a winner could be declared on August 2, 2020.

One of the main reasons for the protracted delay is because the former President David Granger had refused to concede electoral defeat and had mounted several legal challenges in a desperate bid to hold on to power.