[www.inewsguyana.com] – President David Granger has announced a ‘Village Education Scholarship Trust’ which will be established in various villages that will receive funding from the Government, so that the most vulnerable within these communities can be provided with support.
The Head of State made the announcement on Sunday, November 15 as residents of Ann’s Grove and neighbouring communities celebrated the achievement of Elisa Hamilton at this year’s Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).
According to the President, the proposed name does not necessarily have to be used by every village, pointing out that what is more important is accountability for the disbursement and management of the Trust.
A release from the Ministry of the Presidency noted that the initiative will aid in ensuring equal access to educational opportunity.
This latest addition will add to the existing “Three B’s” boats, bicycle and buses initiative, which seeks to provide transportation for children to get to school.
“We have to look after children. We have to make sure that they can get to school, in the first place, so that we produce not one… we need thousands and thousands of Elisas. Every village must be able to produce scholars of excellence, scholars of quality,” the President said.
He noted the need to break the cycle of “hereditary poverty” through education.
“The way to do it is by removing inequalities and by giving every child opportunities… Forty years ago there were five tops schools. There should be fifty. There should be a top school in every region. We have to expand. We have to enlarge the number of top schools in the country so that every child in this country could have access to a top school,” President Granger said.
Ms. Hamilton, a proud daughter of the East Coast Demerara Village, secured five grade ones and one grade two at CAPE, and was honoured by her fellow villagers at a simple, yet auspicious ceremony.
Her achievement placed her among the country’s top CAPE performers. Also, in 2014, Hamilton secured 20 passes; 19 grade ones and a grade two at Caribbean Secondary Examination Council (CSEC), making her the top Regional performer for that year.
The President spoke of the important role villages must play in educating the nation’s children. The President said villages, throughout the country, must strive to return to the days when they were all “cradles of democracy”.
The Head of State added that school dropout rates across the country is alarming and there is the need for every stakeholder in the society, including families and churches to play their role in ensuring that every child attends school.
As part of his Government’s efforts to emphasise the important role villages play in nation building, the President announced that November 7 has been designated “National Day of Villages”.
Meanwhile, congratulations were in order for Hamilton from the President as he lauded her efforts and that of the villagers who played a role in supporting her development and success.
He called on Hamilton to see her achievement as an opportunity, rather than a victory as she leads the way for other youths in her village.
“We are here to congratulate her. It is not easy to achieve what she has worked hard for and she deserves to be rewarded and congratulated, but this is an opportunity. It is not victory,” the President said.
Referencing Hamilton’s disappointment with the offer by the previous administration to apply for a scholarship to study in Guyana, China or Cuba, when it had initially been promised that the top CSEC and CAPE performers would be provided with scholarships to study at universities of their choice in any field, President Granger declared that promises must be kept. He indicated that this matter will be resolved by his administration.
Hamilton was presented with a computer by the President, a plague from the Hamilton Award Committee, a cheque from Justice Nadram Kissoon, among other well deserved tokens. A billboard was also unveiled at the Ann’s Grove Market Tarmac in honour of Hamilton’s achievement.