Manickchand, Henry spar over progress in education sector

Education Minister Priya Manickchand and former Education Minister Nicolette Henry
Education Minister Priya Manickchand and former Education Minister Nicolette Henry

The budget debate kickstarted this morning with a fiery exchange of words between Education Minister, Priya Manickchand and her predecessor, Nicolette Henry over the delivery of education of their respective governments.

Henry demand credit for the work that was done under her tenure in the education sector. She contended that a lot was accomplished under the coalition’s five-year term in office.

“It is the fact that and I can tell you that a lot was achieved during the coalition’s term in office,” the former Education Minister expressed.

She posited that the former government perfectly handled the educator sector in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

These claims were immediately debunked by Education Minister who highlighted that the former government failed to deliver and several complete projects that were set out for the education sector.

She added that there was no comprehensive plan in place to deliver education during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We had done worksheets. We have employed the learning channel towards learning. We had reopened schools for the exam classes. We put instructions on the radio. We started online teaching. All of these fancy plans that the Honorable Member says she had, she was in place for the same time that we were in place but didn’t put in place. It is important that we don’t buy into those lies,” Manickchand stated.

Meanwhile, te former Education Minister also listed several projects which started under the APNU/AFC government which were aimed at the enhancing the education sector. But Minister Manickchand contended that the former government failed to deliver and complete many of those projects.

One such is the ProFuturo project – a programme launched in 2016 aimed at closing the education gap in the world by providing quality digital education for children in vulnerable environments. Construction at several schools, including Westminster Secondary and the St Roses High School, were left incomplete. In some cases, the contractors were terminated. There is also the recent revelation that smart classrooms were never established at the 11 locations, in spite of claims by the former government that they were.

“The APNU/AFC’s problem was just that they’re fancy talkers, sensational talk. Everything just sounds right. That’s how they rode into office. Their problem is they cannot not deliver…Understand that that is your weakness and try to correct it…,” Manickchand expressed.