May 28, 2023 News
Kaieteur News – Access to formal education at the secondary level has always been a challenge for hinterland students. And while there have been improvements in some regards, access to simple necessities such as electricity and potable water remain a challenge.
This is according to the Amerindian People Association (APA) an independent indigenous group which represent the interests and issues of Amerindian people, especially as these were not being addressed by the government.
The APA shared with the Waterfalls several of the challenges faced by a majority of the hinterland students, who hail from indigenous communities and remote locations following the horrific fire that claimed the lives of 19 students, at a High School dormitory in Mahdia Region Eight.
In a detailed report, the Association shared in many areas, access to certain services such as electricity and potable water are challenging.Many students take long walks and boat rides to get access to schooling. As such, where a student population is considered insufficient to merit the building of a secondary school in any given location, students would quite often have to leave their homes to attend schools in a central location or sometimes in Georgetown.
The APA said also said many parents usually engage in subsistence economic activities such as farming, meaning that they are formally unemployed and have limited means to access the finance required to buy necessities for their children who go to live in a dormitory.
This, the Association noted presents several challenges that impact indigenous and hinterland parents in unique ways. Some of these challenges include – according to the APA – the psychosocial burden of parent-child separation cannot be overstated as it is heart-wrenching for parents to know that their children will no longer be close to provide them with the love and care that they need for healthy mental development, to discipline and guide them, to impart the generations of community and cultural knowledge, or, to help them in whatever way parents usually do.
“Lots of children have difficulties coping with behavioral changes: the impact of the boarding school system can be difficult for children to process when separated from their families over long distances and for prolonged periods. Many parents report of their children developing different personalities when they return home, including treating their parents with disrespect, or feel ashamed to be living their cultural way of life which they were so much a part of,”
Added to this, travel across perilously long distances that are costly, means that parents in the hinterland regions must incur additional expenses to visit or transport their children to and from school, where there is limited social welfare support.
“Although the state sponsors home visits once per year for students, parents also try to raise their money so that they can bring their children home for the Easter and Christmas holidays but this is not always possible. This, and other travel, creates additional financial burdens,” the association explained.
The APA noted further that indigenous children living in the dormitories have their own troubles
According to the association, many times adjusting is hard and with strict Dorm rules, coping can be even harder.
“Their freedoms are restricted and they are not afforded the adequate psychological and communal support they would receive from their homes and communities.
Peer pressure of wanting to fit in, bullying, and other challenges do not receive the appropriate nor effective response. In such cases, minimal investigations, or social support programmes are done even as these are indications of the stress and mental strain that students experience while at boarding schools.
Additionally, there is often lack of resources, guidance, and counselling for our teenagers on growing up and how to respond to emotional feelings and attachments such as teenage crushes.
The association said that in several instances the students’ ratio outweighs the house parents.
The APA explained that there are too few house parents, for example, for 59 girls, there was only one house mother, in other schools that have over hundreds, there are only about two or three house mothers.
“Being effective guardians and lending guidance is a challenge to meet the needs of teenagers. House parents often times have to try to be counsellors and all forms of providers for the children… Not being appropriately trained or qualified in areas like childcare or social work, to attend to the needs of numerous children at one time in a single space,” the APA outlined
DECEPTION & CORRUPTION getting WORSE by the minute in GUYANA.
Sep 22, 2023Kaieteur Sports – A formidable team of fitness athletes arrived in Aruba yesterday to represent Guyana at the 50th edition of the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Bodybuilding and Fitness...
Sep 22, 2023
Sep 22, 2023
Sep 22, 2023
Sep 22, 2023
Sep 22, 2023
By Sir Ronald Sanders (The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and the Organization of American... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.