Minister of Education Shaik Baksh commissioned a modern $8M annex to the Martindale Primary School in Region Two last Thursday, in keeping with a pledge to boost access to education in the community.
In a press release, the ministry said the annex is located on the bank of the Nunes Canal, an estuary of the Pomeroon River, and is accessible by boat. It is situated less than a mile from the main building on the bank of the Pomeroon River. The building is equipped with modern amenities and can accommodate 30 pupils, the release said.
In his address, the minister told the gathering of parents, pupils and teachers that Guyana has already achieved universal access to primary education and is on the verge of achieving universal access to secondary education. Enrolment at the pre-primary levels is at about 85%. Further, under the new education legislation, currently before the attorney general’s chambers, pre-primary education is mandatory, in keeping with ministry’s efforts to build a solid foundation at the pre-primary level to ensure a smooth transition to primary school.
“Parents will be required to send their children who have attained the age of three years, nine months to school, or risk being placed before the court,” he said. According to Baksh, the goal at the primary level is to teach pupils to read before they enter Grade Three and master basic literacy and numeracy before they leave the primary cycle. On this note, he told the parents that their role is to ensure that their children attend school everyday and to provide support at home. Regarding school drop-outs, Baksh called on parents to provide support and encouragement as government is building technical and vocational training centres across the country to equip them with marketable skills. Construction is almost complete on a new centre at Leonora and at Mahaicony. The ministry is also in the process of establishing a skills training centre in Lethem.
In addition, in giving an overview of education in Region Two, Vice Chairman Vishnu Samaroo said students have performed well at both the National Grade Six Assessment and the CSEC exams and they have been improving over the years. Samaroo said that about 500 Amerindian scholarship students from the region are attending top secondary schools in the city while some have won scholarships to study medicine and engineering in Cuba. Some of these students have already completed their programmes and are serving the region. He also noted that more teachers from the region have enrolled at the Cyril Potter College of Education satellite training centre at Anna Regina.