–as President conducts historical fact finding visit
By Jarryl Bryan
Staff and students of President’s College yesterday morning got the chance to lobby President David Granger for assistance and upgrades for the institution. The President paid an historical visit to the 30-year-old boarding institution at Golden Grove, East Coast Demerara.
During his visit, which he described as a fact-finding one, Granger conducted a walk
around the dorms, kitchen, garbage dump, storerooms and the classrooms, seeking information from the respective staff of what was lacking in their departments.
In his address to the assembly of students and guests in the dining hall, Granger promised to uphold the institution’s standards, pledging that during his tenure nothing will be done to lower the standard of President’s College.
Granger also promised as much financial support as possible in the 2016 National budget for the institution. However, he called on the students to rise to the occasion, as they were the future of Guyana.
“We can’t live in the past; we have to look to the future. We have to change, we have to start making things. We have to start manufacturing and I look to you, the next generation, to move the economy forward and it must start here. Education must open the door to employment…education is the mother of everything good that you want to achieve in this life,” the President told the attentive listeners.
The Head of State noted that the Administration is fully cognizant of the fact that the education system is plagued with serious problems which must be corrected. He noted several initiatives launched by the administration to help students, including those in the Pomeroon River.
Granger’s visit follows on one made by Chief Education Officer (CEO) Olato Sam, and now Head of Guyana Water Information (GWI) Dr. Richard Van West Charles to mark the 30th anniversary in September of 2015.
The President also promised to return in November to announce his policy decisions for the school. “I came here to look at the campus, to listen to the staff and to learn what the problems were. I walked around the campus; I went into the laboratory, the classrooms, the stores, the kitchen and the dormitories,” he said.
“I wanted to inform myself about the conditions at this college. It is a very important part of our educational system,” Granger said, adding that all other Secondary schools, not just President’s College, would gain his administration’s attention.
The President also called on the school not to fall into an apartheid system, where many students drop out and a few succeed. He stated that this could translate into just a few students growing up to be rich and prosperous, while the masses are poorly educated and downtrodden.
The President toured the kitchen area, where he enquired into the institution’s meal preparation systems. There workers provided the President with all the answers he requested.
He also went outdoors to observe the garbage situation, before going inside to visit the computer lab, industrial centre, science lab, home economics department and the store room. On the visit to the store room, the President was warned of the lethal labaria snakes, which staffers noted would occasionally appear in the environs.
Following the tour, the President held a conclave with the campus staff for over an hour. During the discussion, initiatives including upgrading the school’s library, meals and Information Technology (IT) were discussed.
“Text books and physical infrastructure are a problem, (as well as) the staffing and personnel situation. These are things that must be addressed,” he said after the meeting. “The important thing, at the end of the day is that we want students leaving to be up to the standards of any other college. This is not a college whose standards should be allowed to fall.
“We are still planning the budget for 2016. We want to make sure that within the financial year 2016 we can give the campus as much financial support as possible to solve the existing problems.”
Granger noted that he would have meetings with Minister of Education Dr. Rupert Roopnarine in the coming days to work out the way forward.
President’s College was a project launched in 1983 by former President L.F.S Burnham, though he conceptualized it during his days as a student at Queens College. It opened its doors in 1985, though Burnham never lived to see its opening.
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