Education Ministry estimates approved

- old vehicles to be replaced, texts to be printed

Estimates totalling $13.9 billion meant for the Ministry of Education were approved on Wednesday afternoon when the National Assembly met to consider the amounts.

The process was not without a few verbal skirmishes, mainly between the two leading ladies in this area, Education Minister Priya Manickchand and APNU Shadow Education Minister Amna Ally. Contributions were also made by AFC MPs Valerie Garrido-Lowe and Cathy Hughes and MP Carl Greenidge, APNU’s point person on all things finance.

Among other things, Ally zeroed in on amounts proposed for purchasing vehicles. In total, the ministry, under its various programmes, intend to spend about $71 million this year bolstering its fleet of vehicles. Explaining the proposed allocations Manickchand told the House that her ministry possesses the oldest fleet of vehicles, some of which are 13 to 22 years old.


Purchasing of vehicles

Under the estimates for the ministry’s main office, Manickchand explained that $9 million is provided to purchase a vehicle for the minister as the one currently being used has already been overhauled twice. Under the ministry’s National Education Policy Programme, $18.5 million will go towards the procurement of four vehicles to enhance the capacity of ministry’s employees, including the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Administration. Funds will also be used under this programme to purchase two buses.

Meanwhile, $30.5 million is estimated for the purchasing of two 29-seater buses. Manickchand explained that the end of a programme which facilitated transportation for children to go to school in Kuru Kururu is at hand, and that the ministry wants to continue the programme as it has greatly enhanced school attendance.

The money will also provide a bus for the David Rose School for the Handicapped to facilitate the transportation of its students. According to the minister, the school’s students require special care, but continue to face difficulties on public transportation.

The purchase of a double-door pickup, the minister continued, is also provided for to assist staff in various departments.


Payment for security services

There were also increases, under several programmes, of amounts intended to pay for security services. This time, it was Greenidge who highlighted that proposed expenditure under “Main Office” is $7.8 million, up from $4.8 million in 2013.

It was also pointed out that amounts for security services under the proposed “Education Delivery” programme amounted to $318 million, up from $295.1 million in 2013. Asked the rationale behind the increase, Manickchand explained that the new minimum wage order issued by the Ministry of Labour last year necessitated an increase in the amounts the ministry once paid for security services.


Printing of texts

Several million dollars have also been allocated to finance the writing of text books to be used in Guyana’s schools. Manickchand said that recent decisions concerning honouring copyright laws have made it more difficult for the ministry to procure the books needed for schools. As such, she explained, the ministry has endeavoured to gather competent and capable minds to write books for school-use. She said some of the books have been completed and have to be tested. In addition, $488.9 million is allocated for “Print and Non-Print Material” under the ministry’s proposed administration programme.



Meanwhile, Lawrence inquired of Manickchand the ministry’s plans to combat overpayment of salaries and other sums to contractors for incomplete or shabby work.

Lawrence, a member of the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) – a body which scrutinises the finances of public institutions – said that the Auditor General has found that from 2006 to 2011 the ministry has made overpayments totaling $34.6 million.

To this Manickchand said that measures are being implemented to ensure such instances do not recur. With regard to taking measures to recoup the sums, she said the ministry is contemplating publishing the names of all those who owe the ministry money. Some of the persons who owe the ministry, she said, are aware of the fact that they received more than they were supposed to, but did not have the decency to give the amounts back. She said the ministry is first trying to exhaust all other measures before it decides to publish names in newspapers.

Manickchand is also not yet sure how she will go about distributing the money which will go to the parents of children in the public school system. When he presented the budget 2014 Finance Minister Ashni Singh announced that “government will provide this year a cash grant to the parents of every child attending a nursery, primary or secondary school in the public education system in the amount of $10,000 per child.” Singh said the provision is expected to benefit188,406 families.

On Wednesday Manickchand revealed that the ministry is yet to work out a distribution system but assured that officials are to meet and flesh out a process.



Latest in Local News

default placeholder

Resource ambassadors raise $14.5m for UG

Education resource ambassadors from various parts of the world who were recently here for a conference on improving UG have raised $14.5m for the university.

default placeholder

Northern carriageway of Carifesta Avenue closed to traffic

The northern carriageway of Carifesta Avenue has been closed to traffic. This is to facilitate ongoing improvement and lighting works to the thoroughfare.

The newly appointed Deputy Commissioner General Hema Khan (left) with Chairman of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Board Rawle Lucas. She was introduced during a press conference held yesterday.

GRA sacks heads of Customs, HR

Chairman of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Board Rawle Lucas yesterday announced a major shake-up in the management of the tax body, including the removal of the heads of its Customs and Human Resources divisions for unsatisfactory performance and the appointment of a Deputy Commissioner-General.

European Union Ambassador Jernej Videtič (left) hands over the Coastal Engineering Design Manual for Guyana Sea and River Defences to Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson. (Ministry of Public Infrastructure photo)

$2B in EU funding for sea defences

While urging the swift operationalisation of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC), European Union (EU) Representative to Guyana Ambassador Jernej Videtič yesterday handed over a $2 billion cheque to Minister of Finance Winston Jordan to aid in improving the country’s sea and river defences.

Members of the City Constabulary in their ceremonial dress march along Regent Street yesterday prior to the arrival of the President. (Photo by Keno George)

Put citizens first

With the controversial parking meter contract instigating fractures within the Mayor and City Council (M&CC), President David Granger yesterday reminded city councillors that they are accountable to the citizens who voted them into office.

Injuried: Dhaniram Tribeni

Canal Number One businessman beaten, shot in home invasion

A Canal Number One businessman is now injured after he was beaten and shot early yesterday morning when armed bandits invaded his home and escaped with a quantity cash and jewellery.

default placeholder

City councillor accused of invading Town Clerk’s privacy

A city councillor has been accused of invading the privacy of Town Clerk Royston King and his family after contacting one of King’s daughters about the controversial trip he made to Mexico with the Mayor and other council members.

default placeholder

Chainsaw operator, 16, charged over rape of 10-yr-old

A 16-year-old chainsaw operator was yesterday charged with the rape of a child under the age of 16 years old and later released into the custody of his parents.


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: