Manickchand raps APNU+AFC MP for opposing education cash grant

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Education Minister Priya Manickchand

Education Minister Priya Manickchand on Tuesday roasted the APNU+AFC Opposition for opposing the $19,000 cash grant that is presently being rolled out by the PPP/C Government which will see thousands of children in the public school system benefitting.

The Minister lashed out at APNU+AFC Member of Parliament (MP) Coretta McDonald who took to social media to encourage teachers not to be a part of the distribution.

In fact, the MP in her post stated, “Headteachers, you were trained as an Educator not an Accounts Clerk! Distribution of cash to students/pupils is not your responsibility!”

Coretta McDonald

In light of this, the Education Minister expressed, “it is bizarre to me that any person or political party or any of their affiliates would object to Guyana’s families being assisted with $19,000 per child.”

She further stated that it was also bizarre that Guyana was forced to wait five months after the National and Regional Elections to have a legitimate Government.

“The APNU+AFC just doesn’t do anything sensible, logical or lawful,” the Minister added.

Nevertheless, Manickchand is optimistic that the teachers will support the initiative taking into consideration that they will also benefit from the exercise.

Meanwhile, the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) in a release stated that it is not aware of logistics surrounding the actual distribution of this cash grant. The release added that in keeping with its mandate to look after the welfare of its members, the GTU has taken the necessary actions.

“School administrators and staff are to refrain from handling or taking responsibility for cash/money; lend support where needed to verify authentic students from your school when called upon; Do not store cash/money relating to the Cash Grant and refrain from large gathering especially since COVID-19 cases and deaths are still being recorded in Guyana.”

In addition, the GTU is urging its members to seek the intervention of the Union should they receive threats from any source. Finally, it stated that all financial matters relating to the school must be handled by the Parent Teachers Association.

The “Because We Care” Grant is valued at $15,000 this year and the School Uniform and Supplies Grant is valued at $4000, giving a total of $19,000 for each child in the public education system.

Some 172,000 public school students are expected to benefit from the programme this year, and unlike last year, the school uniform grant will not be given in the form of a voucher but rather as cash.

The Education Ministry noted that the cash grant initiative aims to serve each child before September 2021. This initiative of the Government is to assist families so that they can provide the necessary resources to their children so that they can not only remain in school but to also excel in their studies.

Meanwhile, distribution will commence today in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) at the Cotton Field Secondary, Anna Regina Secondary, Taymouth Manor Primary, Fisher Primary, Suddie Primary, Riverstown Primary, Aurora Primary, and Tapakuma Lake Primary.

The initiative then moves to Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) on July 25.

The “Because We Care” project was launched back in 2014 under the PPP/C Government. It was implemented to provide support to parents with school-age children and increase their disposable income, to raise enrolment and attendance rates.

After taking office in 2015, the APNU+AFC Government scrapped the project. The Irfaan Ali-led Government reintroduced the initiative after taking office last year.