President David Granger yesterday inaugurated an annual “Education Day,” while urging hundreds of students to continue running the race of education against ignorance and catastrophe.
Students from various schools across the country gathered for a rally at the D’Urban Park yesterday morning after the Education Month march from the Stabroek Square.
At the rally, held under the theme “Each Child Matters: Stakeholders Unite for the Enhancement of Education,” Granger announced that every second Friday in September would be designated “Education Day” and argued the case that having a full education is essential to every child. Referencing the theme, Granger explained that education is vital to avoid catastrophe. He said that education is a race and encouraged the children to continue running. “We are competing with ignorance and catastrophe,” he said, while emphasising that education should not just be limited to what is learned in school but should be a complete experience that is continued throughout life.
Granger also referenced the quote, “If you educate a man, you educate an individual but if you educate a woman, you education a whole nation,” from James Aggrey and made the call for there to be more respect for women and emphasised to the young male students that the respect should start from them.
“Each one of you is important,” he said, while pointing out that the adage should be taken to heart as his government will work to ensure that every child experiences a full education to fulfil their civic responsibilities.
Against this background, he said their importance should be seen as a mandate to ensure that they each get “the best possible education.”
Granger also reiterated that the Ministry of Education will ensure that there are new modern schools and will also do rehabilitation works on the current schools to ensure that they are up to standards. “We want to provide quality teachers and more schools and better schools,” he said, while adding that the goal is to ensure that the school environment encourages students to attend more regularly.
In addition to having more modern schools, Granger emphasised the need for there to be sporting and musical facilities at schools so students can engage in meaningful extracurricular activities.
In ensuring that every child has access to schools, Granger pledged to continue the ‘Boats, Buses and Bicycles’ programme that was introduced under his presidency last year. “We want to help but you have to help yourself too,” he added, while noting that too many children are dropping out and staying away from school.
Meanwhile, Minister of Education Dr Rupert Roopnaraine also emphasised the importance of ensuring that pledges are acted upon. “Each child matters and we need to be attentive to the particular needs of every child,” he said, while pointing out that it is extremely important that “we get education right” as it will fortify the nation.
He said that there is a need to redouble efforts and find energy to ensure that the education train moves along and warned that if education isn’t done correctly, then nothing else can be done right.