Education Ministry reviews mounting Graduation cost
…Manickchand unhappy with financial burden on parents
In Guyana when a child completes one level of education be it nursery, primary or secondary school, there is a graduation ceremony.
Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, believes that there is nothing wrong with having a child rewarded for the achievement, but says that the cost attached to such a ceremony has become a burden in too many instances for parents, and as such, this is under review.
Manickchand, in an invited comment Friday, explained that while there have been suggestions in the past on how to deal with the issue of the costs attached to graduations, these did not bear fruit and as such she is going to attempt a serious remedy.
She said that this review is currently being undertaken as a result of the numerous complaints being received on the issue.
Seeking to put a human face to the issue, Manickchand used as an example an instance involving a domestic worker.
The domestic worker, she said, has a child who recently graduated from school and was asked to make payments for various services and commodities such as the child’s graduation certificate, gown, cap and a host of other ancillary costs which make the amount required from the parent a burden.
She acknowledged that a domestic worker, as is the case with thousands of Guyanese parents, works for a limited income which must also be devoted to items such as food and rent.
She says that in some cases it is simply a case where some parents cannot afford the entire package that comes with a graduation ceremony hence the review.
“I am unhappy about this situation,” says Manickchand.
She reminds that it is not a case where graduations will come to a complete halt, but says something has to be done about the mounting financial burden being placed on parents with a humble income.
The pressure is simply too much, she says, to have parents of a modest income be called upon to supply several thousand dollars for items such as graduation gowns, trophies and even the graduation certificate for the child.
Some parents are asked to pay as much as $20,000 in accumulated costs for their child’s graduation.
Graduation Certificates can cost a parent as much as $2,500 which has to be paid before the child can receive the formal recognition.
Other costs would include gowns and in some instances parents are asked to make a contribution towards refreshments and other ancillary costs attached to hosting the graduation ceremony.