I read with some dismay, in the newspapers of December 17, the plans that the new Minister of Education had for the pilot project that aimed at improving the performance of children at the CSEC examinations this year. It may be a commendable project, but the nagging question for me was: What about Region One?
The Honourable Minister started counting from two. She bypassed one completely. (She did the same thing in Region Eight. But maybe their situation is different from that in Region One.) Some of the Regions received more than their fair share in pilots; Region Four alone has four schools in the project. This did not include the seven more in Georgetown!
I am not writing to discourage any assistance for the other Regions. I am hoping that this slight was unintended and that I can make a case here for her to include Region One yet.
Here are three reasons that would make this area a desirable one for the pilot project:
1. It is located far from Georgetown. Any problems seen in the other areas will be exaggerated in Region One because of the location and the difficulties in transportation. Some problems, especially logistical ones, will show up now in Region One and may only show up later in the other Regions.
2. We have been ignored for years. Since colonial times, we have been the “outside” child of Guyana, being the last to receive any new assistance for economic or social development.
This statement is exemplified in the recent “one laptop per family” initiative. To date, we have not received one laptop. We do not have any scheduled delivery dates, either. We have been hearing talk of others possibly getting some soon. My fear is that by the time we get any, our children will be in the hearing-aid and walking-stick phase of their lives.
Thus, any educational improvements seen here because of the “geometry sets and graph papers and … compensation for teachers” will be incontrovertible proof of the success of the pilot.
3. We, the people of the Region, have been disparaged for years by the “people in town” and we need things of which we can be proud. I can assure you that if we are given the opportunity we will work extra hard to ensure we continue getting any help for our children. There can hardly be a Region more wanting to prove that any attention it receives is appreciated and deserved.
But there are more reasons for helping this area.
– In the recent elections, we voted overwhelmingly (66%) for the PPP government. One would hope that such support from us would be encouraged and would be reciprocated by sending some assistance our way. Else, are we to interpret this most recent slight by the government as our reward?
– Like all Guyanese, we need schools; we need the best in education; our teachers need more compensation; we need things of which we and our children can be proud. We, too, love our children and want the best for them. We, too, are Guyanese.
Don’t forget about us, especially so soon after the elections. Please reconsider.
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