The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) finds the call for a Commission of Inquiry into the public Education System by A Parthnership for National Unity (APNU) misplaced and generally designed to politically grandstand on such a crucial sector.
The party in a statement issued today said they are fully aware that the education system is not perfect; hence the many efforts, inclusive of forging partnerships with critical stakeholders to improve problem areas.
The PPP reminded that it was made public during the 2013 budget debate in the National Assembly that a new five year strategic plan for the sector is being crafted, taking into consideration the complexities of the challenges and efforts to overcome them in the shortest possible timeframe.
But this, the PPP said cannot hide the revolutionary strides of Guyana’s education sector over the past two decades.
The PPP noted that for the first time in this country’s history, universal access to primary education has been achieved and efforts are underway towards repeating this feat in the area of secondary education.
And this effort was given international recognition with UN Head Mr. Ban Ki Moon selecting President Donald Ramotar to be a member of the United Nations Steering Committee to examine the world’s education system and make recommendations for its improvement.
The Party added that testimony to their commitment in this regard is the fact that from 2008 to 2013, some 139 billion dollars was allocated to finance the National Education Strategic plan.
“Over $1 .2 billion was spent last year on the National School Feeding programme benefitting 64,000 students, close to 300 million was spent on the national school uniform project benefitting 190,000 students in nursery, primary and secondary schools.”
Meanwhile, efforts continue to train teachers in several subject areas, with close to 3000 having been trained in ICT last year.
Added to this, the PPP said is the One Laptop per Family Project and the Fibre Optic project which aims to provide internet access to each and every school which will revolutionize access to educational material, research and training.
In light of this the PPP said the possibility of virtual classrooms where highly specialized teachers could access classrooms from all across Guyana will now be possible.
Noting that these are just some of the initiatives which will revolutionize the education system and provide equitable access to quality education for all the PPP then questioned how then can APNU explain their Shadow Minister of Education, Amna Ally praising the Minister of Education Priya Manickchand for the sterling work she has been doing in the sector during the budget debate and now a few months after, the very Amna Ally is saying that this sector is in crisis.
The Party said the confusion is even greater when on one hand Ms. Ally during the budget debate of 2013, chastised the PPP/C Government for building new schools across Guyana in an effort to provide easier access to education for children of all communities, but on the other hand, APNU’s leader David Granger sitting right next to Ms. Ally attacked Government for not building new schools fast enough, where he referred to the dropout rates in communities because completing secondary schools in some areas usually take students far from the communities where they reside.
In view of this the PPP said the APNU leadership needs to make up their mind on what their position really is as these contradicting statements and grandstanding by no stretch of the imagination will benefit our children or the education sector.