Are we serious? Editor, I ask this question because it is very difficult to comprehend that in these enlightened times there can be schools right here in Guyana that did not get a single place in a secondary school at the recently concluded Grade Six Assessment examinations.
Well that is the case in Region 9. I do not know of other regions, but it will be very interesting if other persons can so pronounce for their respective regions. Then we can get a macro-picture of the performance of the education sector in Guyana.
I made a startling discovery today. This discovery demonstrates how people’s livelihood, their future are being jeopardized. Imagine 273 young lives in this region will not experience the challenges that secondary school life brings. What will become of them? What sort of lives will they lead? What will they pass on to their children? These are just some of the thoughts that ran through my mind today. I have also learnt that many of them cannot read or write. In this day and age? Come on Editor, we need to do something about this social injustice.
Out of 649 students that wrote the examinations in Region 9, 273 failed to gain a place in a secondary school. That represents a whopping 42.1%; a rise of 5% over last year’s performance. This is totally unacceptable. At the same time the top ten students ranged from 517 to 489 marks.
While that is happening, the regional authorities have chosen to alienate the Regional Education Officer. For the year, just as in the agriculture sector, no visits have been made by this officer to any of the outlying areas. That is because the powers that be, have decided to deprive the officer of transportation that was bought with Education funds, to do education works. The fancy SUV is being driven by another official.
It must be noted here, Editor, that the schools close to Lethem have done reasonably well. It stands to reason that those schools benefited from the supervision of the Education Department. It also stands to reason that depriving the Education Department of resources to effectively supervise the schools in the far-flung communities, is tantamount to depriving the children of those communities of access to quality education; a right that is enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was adopted by Guyana.
As I am writing here, there are several cheque orders which are yet to be forwarded for the attention of the Regional Tender Board, and which belong to the Education Department. These orders, worth millions of dollars, have to do with purchases for schools, and they have not been dealt with for months now. No school received supplies from the Education Department for the last school term.
Effectively education is being put out of the reach of Region 9 children. It must be noted here that Forbes Burnham, made possible free education from nursery to university, a measure I hope will return when APNU wins the next elections.