More than 170 students of various schools were yesterday presented with one laptop each, compliments of the Guyana Government.
The recipients were in fact those who made up the top performing one per cent candidates of the 2013 National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA). They numbered 173.
At a presentation ceremony at the Parade Street, Georgetown, Theatre Guild, President Donald Ramotar himself presented the laptops to the students in the presence of their parents, other relatives and education officials.
The innovative move comes about three months after Minister of Education Priya Manickchand unveiled the results of the NGSA at which point she revealed that the President had committed to affording each child, who fell within the top performing one per cent, a laptop.
Yesterday represented a fulfilment of that promise and formed part of the celebration of Education Month.
President Ramotar in delivering remarks to the top performers, ahead of making the presentations, disclosed that it was a particular pleasure for him to be a part of such an auspicious undertaking.
According to the President, his Government’s commitment was premised on the need to ensure that “you (students) do no flounder along the way.
“In the race of life…it is not for the (swift) but he who endureth to the end. I want to help you endure to the end.”
And even as he emphasised that they have a long way to go to achieve their various aspirations, the President enlightened the students to the fact that they will be faced with challenges and therefore must be multi-skilled and multi-disciplined.
He noted the importance of the students being competent in using the most modern tools in the world.
And even as he expressed optimism that the students will in some way give back to Guyana, the President underscored that they should also strive to take advantage of what the rest of the world has to offer.
“These new technology nowadays, particularly information and telecommunication technology, give us the possibility to stay in our homes, whether we live at the top of Paramakatoi, at Charity, Georgetown or anywhere in the country…and work in any part of the world,” said President Ramotar.
Such technologies, he amplified, also offers the possibility to deliver education to people in remote areas.
He said that the government is currently working with the University of Guyana to have degree courses offered online with a view of giving access to more persons.
According to the President his Government is working towards ensuring that there are equal opportunities for everyone.
“I have said a few days ago that I don’t know of a better way of providing equal opportunities for everyone than providing equal quality of education for every single one in our country…
“Once you have that then you can take the opportunities as they come and be able to manage for yourselves.”
At this juncture he also stressed the notion of “it is better to give a hungry person a hook and teach them to fish than to give them a fish to eat.”
He highlighted too that in many countries it has been proven that poverty eradication is linked to quality education.
He noted that education is the strategic tool to fight against poverty, inequality and the struggles against all injustices.
“I see education as that hook that can take us out of poverty and take us to the higher levels that I dream about…when I look at all these young, bright faces in front of me my confidence is once more strengthened that we can be a developed country in the not too distant future with your help,” asserted the President.
But according to Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, although there are tangible signs that Guyana is doing much better in the business of education, there is yet more work to be done.
This, according to her, includes the quality of education that is delivered at the primary level.
“While we have the Government giving resources to all the Regions equally, we have to make sure that the quality of education that we deliver in those Regions is strengthened and is of a higher nature,” stated the Minister.
She highlighted though that while the need for improvement is evident it is certainly not unique to Guyana but rather could be found across the globe.
“We know we have work to do but we need you to help us to do it,” said the Minister as she turned her attention to the importance of parents’ support to the education sector.
This year close to 17,000 pupils wrote the NGSA. When the results were unveiled it was Salma Majeed of the ISA Islamic Academy who was adjudged the top performer with 548 marks. The highest possible mark that a single candidate could have secured was 560 marks.
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