Nations celebrates successes, outlines plans

– at official opening of new location

School of the Nations recently hosted a ceremony to mark the official opening of its new premises in New Market Street and outlined several other plans it has to expand its programme.

In a press release, the8 school said that in the past decade 946 students have graduated from Nations 6th Form College. They have written a total of 2,468 Cambridge University Advanced Level examinations with a pass rate of 74.8% and with 18.6% of all the examinations written were given an ‘A’ or ‘B’ grade by Cambridge. Several students have gone on to universities in North America and Europe and many have now completed their Masters and PHD degrees.

The school said too 594 students have completed the Fifth Form and in the early years wrote the CSEC exams. They now pursue the Cambridge University IGCSE examinations. A total of 2,940 examinations were written over the past 10 years with a pass rate of 81.7% and 41.3% of all the exams were given an ‘A’ or ‘B’ grade.

In listing other accomplishments, the school said 1,500 adults have now completed the Cambridge University International Diplomas in Business, IT or Education and more than 200 have successfully completed the Institute of Commercial Management Advanced Diploma in Project Management. The school is now offering University of London degrees in Social Sciences in International Relations, Business, Finance, Economics, Banking and Sociology. Also, some students are pursuing the LLB Law Degree through the school. The release said persons without AL qualifications can gain admittance to the LLB course through Nation’s year-long Pre-Law programme. Also, in June, the Dean of the University of London will visit the school to help promote the courses.

The school said its students also participate in a number of co-curricular activities in the arts, sport and in community service.

The school said service has been one of its key philosophies and after the move to Tiger Bay this year the opportunities for an expanded service project developed. Over 54 children and youth from Tiger Bay now benefit from literacy, numeracy, science computer training activities three afternoons per week as well as swimming and play games. The programme, in partnership with Varqa Foundation is facilitated by 26 Sixth Formers and six full time United Nations Volunteers.

According to the release the school has several other programmes in train and is constantly striving to boost and expand its programme countrywide.

Director Dr Brian O’Toole said the school sees as its challenge to prepare children for a new world order with new realities and rich new possibilities.

O’Toole told the audience that inspiration for the school came from a visit to a Baha’i inspired school in Lome, Togoland, West Africa. He said it was operated by one family and was an oasis of peace in the city. He said in the early meetings in the months before the School opened persons such as Ian and Mary McDonald, Vic and Dawn Oditt, Bernie and Anita Fernandes, Beverley Harper, Denise and Denis Dias, Peter Abdool, Peter Willems and others “had the vision to embrace the schools while others said they should ‘wait and see what transpires.’”

O’Toole also noted the key role his wife played in the development of the school; saying she has “the gift of being able to see the end in the beginning and had the skill, energy and determination to transform the aging former Woodbine building into what we have today.” He also singled out the Principal Christine Brisport who 15 years ago, “left a job that paid almost three times as much to lend her special expertise to Nations.”

O’Toole noted too the contributions of Teacher Pam Daniels, who was also at the school from the beginning, adding that “today therefore is a tribute to the inputs of many and a celebration of the rich tapestry of diversity that is the strength of Guyana.” He also paid tribute to contractor Frank Rajpaul, Bert Carter “for his invaluable support”, Patrick Stark for the electrical work, Mark Beaton for plumbing and Demerara Bank and Trust Company for their financial support.

Meanwhile, Minister of Education Shaik Baksh, in an address, congratulated the school on its achievements over the past 15 years. He also said government was committed to working hand in hand with private schools, adding that more than 6% of the school population now attend one of the more than 80 private schools throughout the country.

Prime Minister Samuel Hinds also attended the opening ceremony which saw prayers from the Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Baha’i scriptures and students attired in national costumes giving greetings in 13 different languages, followed by the Parade of Nations with the flags of the 29 countries represented at the school.

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