With first oil quickly approaching, conversations about getting value for the exploitation of the resource are rife in public discussion. It’s already decided that a portion of the revenue from production will go to the Sovereign Wealth Fund.
But of what will be spent in the short term, the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) says that government’s priority must be an overhaul of the education system.
Today is the 39th Anniversary of the death of Walter Rodney, a prominent historian and academic who was assassinated in 1980 for his activism. In the spirit of advocacy, the WPA has issued a statement to honour him, and to demand betterment for society.
One of the strongest recommendations made by the WPA is that direct and indirect investment be made into education, from nursery to university level.
It notes that equal priority should be given to the lower levels (primary and secondary schools) including upgrading remuneration for teachers along with improvement of skills.
“School buildings should be modernised and equipped with modern facilities. WPA is adamant that this is the most effective path to economic liberation.”
“The public education system has been failing, at the primary and secondary levels to produce grades that prepare students to compete on the international stage. In 2018, the percentages of passes at the end of secondary school were 67 percent and 43 percent for English A and Mathematics, respectively. At the primary level, those were 60 percent and 38 percent, respectively.
The Green State Development Strategy: Vision 2040 has laid out a series of recommendations to be made at different levels, including acquiring international accreditation for teacher training schools, and embracing indigenous cultural methods to teach those communities.”
As for tertiary education, the WPA has recommended elimination of tuition fees. Even then, it states that the university has to be targeted for a complete overhaul “to bring it in line with similar institutions in the region and beyond.”
The call for tuition fees to be abolished started earlier this year when a movement led by Elson Low, the Free UG Movement, announced its formation. Since then, a number of trade unions and the University of Guyana Students’ Society have called for same.
Both government and opposition have also indicated that they are considering removing tuition fees from tertiary education, ahead of General and Regional Elections.
“Finally, WPA challenges the youth to step forward and claim their rightful place in the struggle for change.”
The WPA called on young people to demand – not beg for – the mantle of leadership.
By all indicators today, it notes, Walter Rodney and his comrades in the 1970s would be deemed youths by today’s standards.
“Yet they were leading a defining movement for change.”
The party stated that it stands ready to support any youth movement aimed at social and political transformation.
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