Children must not be deprived of education To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
November 2, 2001

The future stands dependent on our youths. And this is especially so with the demands of a developing world. Quite frankly, there is no place for truants, or uneducated children.

We need them to be great teachers, lawyers, doctors, accountants carpenters, managers, architects, mothers, fathers and tons more. They therefore need to learn the rules. In this age of globalisation, it is even more necessary that they be prepared to face new challenges and be able to play a significant role in the country and in our world.

The problems we are facing as a nation with children are numerous - degenerated morals, illiteracy, lack of involvement in positive extra curricular activities, inability to make substantial contributions as future leaders of the country, and any other capacity, improper relations with their elders, and of late the nuisance they’ve created on our roads.

Dealing with truancy is one of the best, boldest and bravest steps the Ministry has taken in quite a while and it must be commended for a splendid job. This move will not only deal with the problems of today, but will also help to address problems, which are likely to be encountered in the future. There is no better time for these matters to be addressed than now.

Every group in our society needs to be involved--parents, guardians, caregivers, communities, religious organisations and other reference groups have to take up the mantle of helping children not to press the self-destruct button.

We should never have been passive of what’s been happening with the youth of the nation. Our command is to play an active role in their development. There are instances where children stay at home to be of assistance to their parents, so some of them go off selling, etc. to lend support to the financial arm of the home. This is another issue that will have to be addressed at a different forum.

Children should never be deprived of an education despite the circumstances in which they live.

One can easily argue that we will find children who are not part of this group. I agree! On a point of order however, the majority of the nation’s children can be associated with the issues raised earlier and lots more.

If we don’t pull on the reins now, we will lose the battle, not because Education Officials are on vacation, or a stairway collapsed with children. We will lose the battle because we fail to take up the critical roles we should take.

Everyone must be involved in the education of children, and this is not about teaching them to read and write only, but rather imparting life skills, which no Education Ministry in isolation could ever do.

A concerted effort is needed to adequately put this situation into its correct perspective.