To simply sit and watch you, Minister Priya Manickchand, steal the show and grab the headlines whenever our young people excel in their examinations, is tantamount to fraud. The truth is, your government has neglected our schools and only university.
There’s no need to remind the general public about the deplorable state of Guyana’s only university (UG) and the fact that your government has refused to invest our tax dollars in ensuring that students have proper computer labs, libraries, modern classrooms, qualified lecturers etc. Madam Minister, the list of your government’s neglect of our schools is very long. So, I’m just going to ask you to either pull your stockings up or take a final bow as our country’s Minister of Education.
In reading about the conditions of dozens of primary and secondary schools around Guyana, it makes me question your competence as the relevant minister. Or, is it that politics will continue to take center stage in our schools? If the latter is so, then the conclusion is obvious that the PPP regime is out to destroy anything with a PNC stamps, ie: President’s College and dozens of Multilateral Schools.
I wish to remind you of your promise to the nation (on behalf of your boss, President Ramotar) that your government would present laptop computers to the top 1% students who wrote the 2013 National Grade Six Examinations. At a press conference you said that the president, “was extremely pleased and extremely proud of our children and said that each child falling in the top one percent will be given a
laptop.” Please, don’t tell us that 173 students have to wait another six months before receiving their computers. What a shame that they did not receive it during their August break, as they’re now preparing to return to school.
Further, reading your response to concerns expressed by opposition elements over the high failure rate in English and Math was like a deja vu experience with state officials in places like Alabama and Mississippi as they responded to civil rights activists with language infused with hubristic arrogance. Imagine the person who supposedly is responsible for ensuring that every kid in Guyana receive a good
education, do well in school, provide adequate resources and counseling so that improvements and results are mirrored across all segments of the population, making snide remarks that implies that the constituents of the opposition did not value education. One does not need an interpreter to discern
a racist jibe, and we should not allow diplomatic protocol to deter us from calling it for what it is. Yes, admittedly there is a problem that require the intervention of all concerned with the development of education in Guyana, but when the Minister Responsible for Education proceed to use what is undeniably a racist stereotypical jibe to explain away these failures, yes, it is deja vu Alabama circa 1960 all over again. The constituents you crassly and prejudicially use one the most popular and profane stereotypical implications to insult have a history of producing some of the best minds this nation has produced. From their midst emerged the first pioneering local educators who traveled to the homes of
parents back in the day to encourage them to send their kids to school, because they recognize the importance of Education in a developing Guyana. How dare you, Ms. Manickchand?
Concerned Guyanese interpreted your comment as a wake up call for African Guyanese to take control of development in their communities. I agree with them, but I also believe that it represents a microcosm of your Party’s Administrative Policy, whether in the rule and administration of justice, social welfare or economic opportunity. What it shouts loudly to the population segment in question is that you do not feel that you have any responsibility to them. That they have no rights or concerns which you are duty bound to recognize, respect and empathize with.
Finally, as the parent of a teenage boy attending Queens College (QC) who is about to enter the 3rd Form, I find it to be particularly troubling that to date he and many other students are not in receipt of their book list. This is their third year, and the incompetence is odious. Imagine school reopens this coming Monday, and no word from the school. Mind you, I’ve been reliably informed that it’s not just at QC that this problem continue to affect the education of our children. Again, I say shame on your ministry and your government.
Mark A. Benschop
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The chartered accountant, Mr. Nigel Hinds, who is a well known letter-writer to this newspaper had a missive published... more
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