The job of Minister of Education involves more than political sound bites

Dear Editor,

Recently, we have noticed that the Minister of Education appears to be getting more and more desperate as her record of real achievement in educating the children of Guyana crumbles around her.

Being the Minister of Education is not only about political sound bites, it is also about leadership and tangible outcomes to enhance the welfare and well-being of our children, advance their education and respect the rights of others. But the Minister seems to be more interested in photo ops, vulgar and abusive language like her former boss. Definitely, she is a not a good example for the children of Guyana

In May 2011, the Minister reminded us that the PPP visions for Guyana’s children were that they wanted them “to be happy, to be safe, to have a good education, to be prepared to be productive citizens…” Shaik Baksh left the education portfolio with a pass rate at Mathematics of 35 per cent, but under the current Minister of Education, that has declined. Those who failed will be ineligible for acceptance at most proper universities to further their education.

As parents, we deserve better for our children. We believe that not being able to provide our children with a proper education will inhibit the development of the country.

With no real plan, policy or strategy for improvement, it is no wonder that the Minister spends much of her time on NCN peddling propaganda and in Parliament hurling personal insults against her fellow MPs. If the minister had any decency she would have apologized to Jaipaul Sharma for her rude remark and to the Speaker for her arrogant behaviour. Regrettably, such behaviour is accepted by her party as the norm.

If Minister Manickchand was as concerned about the victims of sexual abuse as she claimed, then she would have used her office to ensure the Sexual Offences Act of 2010 was fully enforced. They would be so much better off if their abusers were behind bars. This would have provided a much safer environment with access to a good education in order to make them more productive citizens. But one must ask what has Ms Manickchand done to bring justice to these victims? Very little!

In such a situation, she has no right to use them as poster children to advance her political ambitions. Teachers, parents and students are disappointed with her raucous behaviour and are distancing themselves from her. She is considered one of the PPP’s foremost propagandists. It is not the Minister or the PPP that is suffering; it is our children.

We call on the President to seek the services of a more professional, mature and competent person to fill the post of Minister of Education. We have looked at the PPP’s list of candidates and fortunately we are convinced that there are other candidates who are more qualified and who could bring more justice, results and progress to the education portfolio. We hope that the President will do the right thing for Guyana.

Yours faithfully,

Terrence Simon

Asquith Rose

Harish Singh and thirteen others

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