Sep 24, 2020 Letters
I’ve watched with much pomp and pride, the announcement of the NGSA exam results of 2020 hosted at the Ministry of Education’s NCERD board room of which the Honorable Minister Priya Manickchand delivered the feature remarks to the top performers. Subsequent postings by various media outfits delved into wider details, of the top one percent of the lot, of which, most, if not all were offered a placement at Queen’s College. I can relate to the overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment felt by the parents, teachers and members of the communities from where this batch of students are drawn, having experienced this first-hand when my child matriculated some years back. Of particular interest to me however, is that while most of those who have been offered a place at Queen’s College will be enrolling without hesitation, of notable concern is the fact that, of this number, quite a few students are drawn from far-flung areas in our country. I have personally come across cases in the past where the parents of some of these students were deterred from accepting this honorary placement owning to the long and impractical distance of travel from home to school and back. That said, I can also recall there being, in the past, isolated instances of intervention by both the government as well as private individuals who have stepped in from time to time to assist; whether by offering a place of boarding or in the form of a scholarship, to a few who were lucky enough and were willing to take the risk (especially in the case of a girl child). Such offers were the deciding factor that allowed the parents of those children to accept or decline with the latter resulting in the child having to contend with an alternative choice of secondary education, at an institution within practical range and reach of his or her community. Honorable Minister, it is my humble plea to you for these disenfranchised kids (because of their geographic location), who have worked so hard to be able to attend Queen’s College, regardless of where they are coming from. I know that the government sets aside a considerable sum every year towards education in Guyana; might I suggest establishing a government-funded dormitory within the grounds of Queen’s College compound, with a view towards accommodating students, particularly those securing a placement at the college and deserving of such assistance as residency. Madam Minister, I know that when it comes to education in this country, you are resolute and take a passionate stance for our children and I’m sure that with your dedication and commitment the lives of our future generation will be greatly impacted if consideration is given to this initiative. I know that Queen’s College has a long history of churning out intellectuals of multifaceted disciplines and I’m sure that just as how the opportunity of residency is offered at the distinguished President’s College to the students who reside outside of the district, the same can make an indelible impact on the lives of those given the opportunity to attend its sister institution – Queen’s College.
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