The Ministry of Education met today with parents and students of the North Ruimveldt Multilateral Secondary School who are scheduled to begin their Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination shortly.
On Saturday last, the teaching block of the school was destroyed by fire. This building housed the classrooms that the students would have used to write their CSEC examinations.
Therefore, the Ministry of Education took quick action to decide on the way forward, one of these was to consult with the parents and students today at a meeting using the East Ruimveldt Secondary School as the venue.
Minister of Education Priya Manickchand said today that the teaching block has been destroyed to the point that it cannot be used at all in the immediate future. She said that the meeting was necessary since the dates for the other examinations cannot be shifted as was done for the Foreign Languages Oral test that was scheduled for today.
She committed the Government of Guyana’s and the Ministry of Education’s support to the parents, students and teachers to help them through this period. Following today’s meeting, four main positions were arrived at.
The majority of parents agreed that they prefer the students to write their examinations at the same venue and not to be split up at different locations. Secondly, it was decided that if students have to be transported to another location, the Ministry of Education and the Government of Guyana will absorb the full cost and any other associated cost.
Thirdly, it was agreed that it is the preference of those present, that the examination should be written in the school’s auditorium which was not damaged by the fire.
Minister Manickchand said that this could be facilitated once all clearance is given from the Guyana Fire Service (GFS), the Guyana Power Light Inc. (GPL) and the Chief Electrical Engineer that the examinations can be written safely and without disruption.
Fourthly, it was agreed that if the examinations cannot be written in the auditorium, then it is preferred that the examinations be written at a location that is not another school, such as the Cyril Potter College of Education, the Police Officers Mess or the University of Guyana.
Minister Manickchand said that the Ministry will give the GFS and GPL until Wednesday to get the auditorium ready for use. She said if the building cannot be ready by then, a decision will be made by the Ministry of Education as to where the examinations will be written. This too was agreed on by the parents and students present.
The Education Minister told parents today that their children need their support, love and encouragement the most particularly during this time. She said that there has been one common factor with most children that perform well and that is the involvement of parents in their child’s education.
She told the students that their emotions regarding the tragedy are not misplaced. She encouraged them that when they are writing their examinations to try their best to focus on all that they learnt and how brilliantly they will apply that to their paper to let their performance be the proof of their resilience.
She added, “If there is something that drives you even further in this period it must be that the students who wrote their CSEC the week after their school burnt down performed excellently. That must be what drives you.”
Minister Manickchand also pledged the Ministry’s support to provide any psychosocial support that might be needed by teachers and students of the school. Students were given a number that they can call if they need guidance and counselling during this difficult time.
She encouraged students not to feel as though they have lost their school but to ensure what they have learnt while attending the institution is reflected in their behaviour and conduct as they go into the world of work and furthering their academic studies.