Schools should be English-speaking zones

Dear Editor,

With Guyana being in the state it is, the time for criticism is over and the time to propel Guyana forward has come. When the systems of First World nations are examined, we see some of the potential of Guyana.

The first recommendation I have is in the education sector. For years now, Guyana has been struggling with poor CSEC grades for English Language. Frankly, this is an embarrassment. We are an English-speaking country and yet so many of our students are failing English. I believe the problem lies in the environment. We require students to sit an examination for English but they are in a Creolese school environment. I have nothing against Creolese, but the examination is for English. In many schools it is the English teacher alone who maintains an English tongue.

In order for our students for excel in English they must be in an English environment. I recommend that the Minister of Education make all schools English-speaking zones. It would take nothing away from Creolese, because Creolese is widely spoken outside of the school environment. Having our school environment as English zones should be much more effective than submitting students to be in English mode only a few hours per week in class. This recommendation would not only affect the grades of our students but also the language of both the students and the teachers.

Having a school environment where English is spoken will make it easier for students to adjust to the intricacies of the English language. It will make it easier to apply the correct tenses rather than putting extra effort into thinking about what tense to use. I have noticed even little children in nursery school whose parents have taught them to speak English, think differently and can maintain a proper conversation.

The second recommendation is in the road safety sector; road accidents are a terrible problem in Guyana. I need not stress this, however some additional rules can be implemented that can hopefully save lives. Guyana has already instituted the front seatbelt laws for vehicles.

We now need to go a step further and institute seatbelt laws for the rest of the vehicle where possible. Some lives could have been saved if the back seat passengers in cars were wearing seatbelts instead of being flung to their deaths.

This solution is a bit tricky because it would require additional laws and more importantly vigilant patrol officers.

Guyana has never had a problem with creating laws; our problem is implementing and maintaining them. As I am on the topic, the Commissioner of Police needs to take some steps to train his officers to be morally responsible and vigilant.

It is blatant hypocrisy for officers to drive around in vehicles that would promptly fail a fitness exam, yet these very officers are willing to prosecute anyone whose vehicle is unfit for road use.

Many times these vehicles are very new models. It makes you wonder if the Guyana Police Force just gives its officers new vehicles and has no system in place for responsibility for damage and maintenance. But as alluded to before, my second recommendation would require law and enforcement.

Yours faithfully,

Haseeb S Yusuf

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