Wednesday, 22 May 2013
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|On visit to schools…|
|Monday, 25 June 2012 21:46|
Manickchand assures government will continue school uniform vouchers
- some 65,000 school children benefit annually
EDUCATION Minister, Priya Manickchand visited several schools in Georgetown yesterday to meet with parents who had gone to uplift their children’s school uniform vouchers for the new term. Richard Ishmael Secondary, Winfer Gardens Primary and South Road Nursery were among those to which she went.
At Winfer Gardens, she assured that government will continue to ensure that every effort is made to boost the education sector.
“Government has made clear its interest in ensuring children get their education...this is one of the reasons the budget for education this year was bigger than all the other sectors,” she explained.
Manickchand said government has allocated one of the largest sums of money in the 2012 National Budget to bolster the sector through various initiatives that are undertaken in schools.
However, she said, while there have been major developments in infrastructure and other areas, some parents are finding difficulties in sending their children to school because of finance.
Manickhand reminded that, because of this, the school uniform vouchers initiative has been ongoing through the entire Guyana.
“A few years ago, then President Bharrat Jagdeo, while interacting with parents, found out that many children were not in school because they were not afforded uniforms. Upon hearing this he put the uniform programme in place up until now,” she recalled.
The minister said schools in the hinterland, riverine areas and along the coast have benefitted from the project and encouraged the population to continue striving to send their children to school.
According to Manickchand, her ministry is responsible for the disbursement of the uniform vouchers in Regions 2 (Pomeroon/Supenaam), 3 (Essequibo Islands/West Demerear), 4 (Demerara/Mahaica), 5 (Mahaica/Berbice), 6 (East Berbice/Corentyne) and 10 (Upper Demerara/Berbice) while the Amerindian Affairs Ministry is dealing with Regions 1 (Barima/Waini), 7 (Cuyuni/Mazaruni), 8 (Potaro Siparuni) and 9 (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo).
She revealed that some 65,000 school children benefit from this disbursement annually and government has been greatly assisted, in this regard, by store owners countrywide.
Manickchand said businesses which indicated their interest in helping had to apply to the ministry and get the approval before they could be a part of the programme.
“Store owners interested in coming on board applied. We did not choose our friends who have stores or anything like that. In Georgetown, we have like twenty stores and they are not only the big fancy stores,” she pointed out.
Manickchand said it is important to have many stores working along with the ministry, since some might see it as an opportunity to mark up their prices and get an extra dollar.
“It is important that we have many stores because some store owners would jack up their prices when they are the only few stores that are working through the school uniform project,” she observed.
Additionally, she said some of the stores are also offering deals to parents by selling the items at a reduced cost to parents who come with their vouchers.
Meanwhile, Headmistress of Winfer Gardens, Ms. Jennifer Cumberbatch said parents and teachers are very pleased that government has been so kind to the students in this regard.
She said this has made evident a much greater improvement in the school system countrywide and added it would be good if the value of the voucher could also be increased from $1,500 to $2,000 in the near future.
Cumberbatch told the minster the largesse has been a great relief for a lot of parents and they are grateful to the ministry and the government.
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