Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry, and the Departments of Education for Regions five and six, yesterday commissioned four new schools and one Information Technology laboratory.
The schools in Region Five are Perth Nursery, Calcutta Nursery and Champagne Primary, and in Region Six, No. 36 Primary.
At the commissioning ceremonies, Minister Henry reiterated the commitment of the government and the Ministry of Education to providing education for all Guyanese.
She said that every child in Guyana must have access to quality education whether they live in the city or in rural communities.
She said that the construction of the new schools is in keeping with the Ministry’s vision and goal to reduce the disparity that exists between the coastal communities and rural communities. This point was of great importance, particularly at the commissioning of Champagne Primary.
According to Minister Henry, “each and every child in the school system must have access to quality education.”
She expressed her happiness that all the schools have met the standards recognised by the Education Ministry, and added that she is confident that great things will happen within the walls of the new schools.
Minister Henry applauded the officers within the Department of Education and the Regional Administration for their great work to improve the quality of education in the region.
She stressed that education is important since it can take a nation and its people from poverty to prosperity.
According to the Regional Education Officer (REdO), Ms. Deon Lyn Lewis-Clarke, modern facilities not only improve the physical environment but also the learning culture.
And Deputy Regional Executive Officer (DREO), Mr. Sherwin Wellington, informed that the cost to construct the Perth Nursery School was $40M; Calcutta Nursery was built at a cost of $33M and Champagne Primary School totalled $13M.
Head teacher of Perth Nursery, Ms. Patricia Rutherford, said that over the years, teachers and children
were accustomed to a building owned by the Perth Burial Society, which was most uncomfortable.
On behalf of her staff and students, she thanked the government, the Department of Education and the Regional Administration for providing a building to house the school.
She made a commitment that the building will be used to mould the minds of the children in Perth Village.
Ms. Candace Griffith, headmistress of Calcutta Nursery, said that it was indeed a happy day in Calcutta Village. She said that the school was previously housed in the bottom flat of the Primary School, which she also described as uncomfortable.
She said that now, her teachers are able to deliver the curriculum in an environment that is conducive.
The headmistress of Champagne Primary School, Ms. Suzette Dubisette thanked the government and the Regional Administration for providing the new edifice for the teachers and pupils to ensure that quality education can be accessed.
Meanwhile, over at the No. 36 Primary School, Minister Henry said that an investment in people is an investment in the country. She said that notwithstanding the new building, there is still a lot of work that has to be done.
She said that the new building represents progress and growth and thanked the Regional officials for their contribution to the project.
According to the Regional Executive Officer of Region Six, Ms. Kim Williams-Stephen, the construction of the school was made possible through collaboration between the government and the private sector.
She explained that the land on which the two-storey school sits was donated by the Nand Persaud Group of Companies. She said that the project started in October 2016 and was completed in March 2018 at a total cost of $42.642M.
Moreover, the IT Lab that was commissioned at the Courtland/Gibraltar Primary School was another example of collaboration.
The computers were donated by a former student of the school and resident of the community, Ms. Merlyn Crandon.
Delivering remarks on behalf of Ms. Crandon was Rev. Ingrid Peters who said that the new IT Lab marks the beginning of a journey for the children.
The children were encouraged to “seek out every opportunity and go for it”. Rev. Peters noted that computers are a wonderful tool to reach horizons that are available to others in schools that are better equipped.
The Education Minister highlighted again the importance of partnerships. She said that computer learning is very important for 21st Century education.
Head teacher of the school Ms. Melanie Thomas said that the IT Lab will enable students to reach their full potential. She said that the computers will help to break the passive learning model that the children are exposed to daily.
Ms. Thomas added that the students and teachers of her school embrace the opportunity as they strive to make a positive difference.
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