Education ministry denies blame for treatment of Rupununi Mash participants

The Ministry of Education (MoE) has denied responsibility for the reported poor treatment meted out to several students who travelled from the Rupununi to attend the Children’s Mashramani activities in the city last Saturday.

Public Relations Officer at the Education Ministry Brushell Blackman, when contacted, stated that the ministry was not responsible for the transportation arrangements for the children, which fell under the purview of the Region Nine administration.

With regard to the food served to the participants, Blackman said that the same meals were given to the other participants, and were accepted without any complaints. He further noted that when the students arrived in the city last week Wednesday they were provided with meals.

The ministry was at the time responding to a letter published in Wednesday’s edition of Stabroek News, which highlighted the lack of proper transportation and meals, as just part of the unfortunate treatment meted out to the Hinterland students while they participated in the  ministry’s Mash activities.

According to the author of the letter, his two sisters were a part of the entourage of 87 students who travelled from the Rupununi to participate in the Children’s Mashramani programme in Georgetown.

“These unfortunate students were forced to endure almost double the normal time on the road on both legs of the journey, because old, faulty buses were hired to transport them. Some of these buses broke down on both trips. The travel to Georgetown took over eighteen hours while the return trip home took over a day,” he said.

Sharing the experience of the return trip home, the writer said not only were the buses overloaded but that mechanical issues were encountered by two of the five buses which resulted the trip taking over twenty-four hours.

Meanwhile, the writer said while the students performed and practiced late into the night on all of the days of the event, the quality and quantity of the food was barely minimal.

“If this logistical nightmare wasn’t bad enough, the hapless students were given a dinner of a croissant bun and a cup of tea after all their exertions earlier in the day and their impending exertion, as a consequence of their long journey home,” he wrote.

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