The One Laptop Per Family project, that is promised by the government, the opposition parties and also the beneficiaries, all are making comments and quite rightly so.
I am sure that everyone is happy that poor families are to receive a laptop. But the way this project is executed may be of concern to many.
But as a resident of Region Two, that is Pomeroon/Supenaam, which covers a distance of about 40 miles through the Essequibo Coast, I have made an important observation and I am certain others did as well.
For years the Muslim community has been providing transportation for the children attending the Almadiriali School at Anna Regina.
This school is about 200 metres north of the Anna Regina Multilateral School. My understanding is students pay whatever they could afford.
Three buses each capable of holding about 80 children – two leave Supenaam and the other from Charity end.
Supenaam to Anna Regina is about 22 miles and children attending the Anna Regina Multilateral School would have to pay at least $600 return and those attending the Abram’s Zuil Secondary would have to pay about $400 per day.
Now consider the Government’s minimum wages or even $35,000 per month take home pay and you will see how difficult it is to send one child to the Anna Regina Multilateral School from Supenaam. To send two it is just impossible, forget it. If you family is six, five, or even four.
I have seen children qualify to attend the Anna Regina Multilateral School and Abram’s Zuil Secondary School and parents had to request transfer to the Aurora Secondary School, because of the cost of transportation.
I can remember asking a young boy from Supenaam why he is not at school today, and he did not answer me, so 1 asked him again and with his back towards me, he said I went last week and my sister is going this week.
These things do happen regularly, but only to poor people’s children. I would like to see the Regional Administration in collaboration with the Ministry of Education offer some kind of relief to those parents and those children follow the example of the management of that Muslim School, by providing transportation at a very low cost, to enable those children to attend school regularly and significantly reduce the high rate of drop outs.
While each home (poor home) would like to have a laptop, low cost transportation will be more appreciated, and will be of more value to them.
We all must say thank you to the management of that Muslim school and all those who are assisting in making transportation for those children possible.
Archie W. Cordis
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