Parents urged to allow children to be educated
Stabroek News
December 5, 2001

Parents of children in two rural communities were urged to allow them to benefit from a formal education so that they could build the necessary foundations to sustain themselves.

President Bharrat Jagdeo made this appeal at the commissioning of two East Coast Demerara (ECD) schools -- one new and the other rehabilitated -- under the Primary Education Improvement Project (PEIP) at a total cost of $66 million last week.

The structures, Virginia Primary School at Cane Grove, Mahaica and the Gibson Primary School at Unity/Lancaster village, Mahaica, respectively, accommodate approximately 600 students.

The new $40 million Virginia Primary School at Cane Grove, Mahaica, which was officially opened by President Bharrat Jagdeo. (Aubrey Crawford photo)

Government, President Jagdeo stated, would spend more in the education sector, and parents especially those in rural communities should utilise the opportunities offered. Reminiscing on his school days, the President recalled friends who had not been given the opportunity to complete their schooling, but instead were put to work on their parents' farms and to do other jobs.

The President also had words of caution for teachers and other education officials, who, he stated need to give of their best to ensure that the nation's children were well educated.

While complimenting the majority for their hard work, he urged others, who he described as tardy to pull up their socks. Promising to become very intolerant with those who chose to engage in other activities during school hours, the President hinted at an inspectorate being formed to check schools to assess the level of service that some teachers were giving.

The $26 million rehabilitated Gibson primary School at Unity/Lancaster village East Coast Demerara. (Aubrey Crawford photo)

President Jagdeo also promised to ensure that the Guyana Television Broadcasting Company devoted a share of its programming to education. Similarly he challenged privately owned stations to follow suit instead of showing pre-recorded US programmes.

Physical structures, according to the head of state, were not as important as investing in a country's future, its children.

Headmaster of Virginia Primary, Alwadram Kaulesar, in his report, traced the history of the school from its days as Cane Grove Primary or Backdam school and previously the Anglican church school.

Growth in population caused the school to be shifted to the old estate manager's house, a stone's throw from the new school, which had its bottom enclosed to accommodate such. In 1999 public health authorities deemed it unsafe and plans were made to rehabilitate the structure. But this idea was shelved and preparations made for the construction of a new school after the National Trust deemed it a heritage site.

The programme was chaired by Edward Anderson and featured several cultural items.

Similarly at the rededication of Gibson Primary at Unity/Lancaster, Headmistress, Hazel Harris, outlined the growth of the school from its humble beginnings to the present.

She also alluded to some of the hardships encountered during the time of construction and some still existing including no electricity or water. Promises were made to remedy these defects.