Are the parents picketing for a good cause?

Dear Editor,

The recent move by government to impose VAT on private education has caused many people to give their opinions about the administration and we saw a few persons starting to picket at various locations with the aim of trying to get the government to change its position. Many of the picketers are parents, and I am somewhat of the view that they are not really in touch with reality. Listening to the comments from the picketers, I believe that many there should look at reality and see if what they are picketing for is indeed a good cause.

During last week’s picketing exercise, one picketing parent said that many days children attending public school would go home without any school work in their books, and that is why they chose to send their children to a private school. The Ministry of Education and the GTU should condemn that statement because either that parent has something against public schools or they might have a more active role in the private school. The parent should say in which public school that occurs. She gives the impression that whichever school she was talking about has no interest in the education of the child, and quite honestly I believe that this is not true. Many things could be said about school but I’ve never heard of a public school that didn’t teach the children anything or give them information to write in their books, or of teachers who didn’t like their jobs.

Editor, private school is an option for many who have kids who are not qualified enough to attend what many view as ‘bright’ schools (Queen’s College, Saints, etc). Look at the results of private schools and you will see that many cannot achieve marks even close to the public schools. I travel a lot and ask a lot of questions and a while back I wrote about a private school on the West Coast Demerara  and to date no changes have occurred. I’ve wondered why people are criticizing public schools and are not against private schools which are charging fees and cannot give a better service. The owner of the school has the keys for the school and the children would have to brave the morning sun until he comes before they could enter the school, which is usually after 8 am. There’s no proper shed for them or any seating area, so many would have to stand by the grills, under the sun or rain until the school gate is opened. In addition, one teacher is assigned to a class and she/he has to teach all the subjects. At the public schools, one teacher teaches one subject and if there are seven different subjects during the day, then seven different teachers will be teaching the children. I have nothing against that school but if you are charging 100% for a service and only providing 25% then I find something wrong there, and if people are going to criticize government’s action, they should look at what they are defending first.

Yours faithfully,

Sahadeo Bates

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