By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Youth Organisations and Educators have expressed mixed views towards the appointment of Dr Rupert Roopnaraine to serve as the Minister of Education while also being responsible for Culture, Youth and Sport under the David Granger APNU+AFC administration.
The Culture, Youth and Sport Ministry was a completely different entity under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic administration, but surprisingly, this was one of the Ministerial portfolios that was abandoned by the new government.
Some youth advocates have noted that they were especially disappointed given that the APNU+AFC had focused a lot of its elections campaign on youth issues.
The Director of Come Alive Network Inc (CANI), Ryan Hoppietold iNews during an interview that given the heavy campaigning by the coalition on youth involvement, it was expected that there would be a Youth Ministry.
“It’s a definite surprise…I am somewhat disappointed, reason being I think that the youths have worked really hard and have done more than enough to ensure to have a new government today…this Ministry should have been able to stand as a testament to the fact that young people are not only the future, but also the present,” said Hoppie.
He pointed out however that while he understands the need for a lesser amount of Ministries, the Culture Youth and Sport Ministry should not have been collated with the Education Ministry since both are huge portfolios.
“I don’t see how it’s going to work with having the Youth, Culture and Sport all under the stewardship of the new education Minister. Not that I think he isn’t competent, but I foresee a lot of lags in the system with respect to getting things done…they are two distinct portfolios and they are two priority areas and they should be treated as such,” the Youth Leader told iNews.
Additionally, Founder of the Guyana Secular Humanist Association, Ferlin Pedro opined that the youth portfolio seems to fit well under the label of the newly formed Ministry of Social Cohesion.
“Youths are part of society, they have concerns, they have needs,requiring appeasement and they want society to view them as an integral role in shaping Guyanese culture and future,” Pedro said.
Meanwhile, Amir Dillawar, Former Vice President of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) said while he feels the need for a Youth Ministry, certain dynamics of the situation should be considered before a judgement is made.
“I would want to feel that having a Ministry dedicated to youth might be pushed out. If the work can be done under another Ministry through a department, then once the work is done then I don’t see there being a problem, my main issue is getting the work done…once the work is done, it really doesn’t matter where the work is from,” said Dillawar.
Albeit the youth corps presented these views, head of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) Mark Lyte said he was satisfied with the appointment of Dr Roopnaraine.
“We are pleased with the appointment of Dr Roopnaraine and we hope that we can work to move our issues forward, we have no objections, said Lyte.
Ryan Samaroo, a lecturer at the Cyril Potter College of Education told iNews “while I am still trying to understand the rationale for the merging the two ministries, at the same time I am looking at the broader picture. It seems that education is viewed as the cornerstone of tackling the risks faced by society and the principles of independence, collaboration and creativity.”
He pointed out that the Ministry of Education can now collaborate with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture to set educational directions including the development of social competencies for survival and the enhancement of lifelong learning opportunities.