All's not lost

Guyana Chronicle
June 12, 2000

NOT all are done in by the doom predicted by those who wring their hands and cry that the education system has gone down the drain.

In spite of the outflow of teachers to `greener pastures' in some of the most unlikely places in the world, there is progress in the sector.

The education system was among those squeezed of funds since the mid-1980's when economic priorities were reordered in the face of the crippled economy and a country in almost total collapse.

It is not what many would want it to be, but it is getting there.

It may not be much but a World Bank official involved in the restoration has been moved enough to tell about how he feels at the progress.

Mr Hedeki Mori is so impressed that he has praised the performance of Guyana's Secondary Schools Reform Programme (SSRP) SRP to date.

He recently concluded a three-day visit to Guyana to assess the performance of the SSRP and pronounced: "I think it's actually excellent."

Tell that to the local prophets of doom.

Using the Dolphin Pilot School in Georgetown as an example, he recalled that on his first visit to the school five years ago, he could not help noticing the sad look on the faces of students.

Five years later he has seen an absolute transformation of the school environment.

Dolphin School, like others, has been nicely rebuilt, painted, and even though rehabilitation works have not been quite completed, the environment is lifting.

There are all the signs that progress is being realised, he said, and it was nice to see that tangible progress was being made.

He has seen the eyes of the students "shining with hope," which he couldn't see five years ago.

Some Guyanese are so caught up in the frustrations around them that they fail to notice the little signs of hope and progress around them.

In a city from which some businessmen are moving out and others thinking about following them, a visiting World Bank official involved in the restoration of the education system sees hope in schools in Georgetown.

Schools are so much in need of basics like furniture, that the signing of contracts to supply stuff like chalk boards is heralded as a major step forward.

Many years ago, the awarding of such contracts would have gone largely unnoticed and unannounced because it would have been business as usual.

Now, so many little things matter.

Mr Mori is "also glad to hear that textbooks were coming in for them."

We are happy that he has derived his greatest satisfaction merely seeing the kids' eyes "shining with hope".

We hope others here take a cue from him - amid all the troubles, there is cause for smiling and hope for the future.

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