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|Manickchand well received during Linden visit|
|Monday, 20 August 2012 22:52|
-agreement sealed on placement for One-Mile Primary students for September 3 school opening
EDUCATION Minister, Priya Manickchand yesterday paid a visit to Linden in Region Ten (Upper Demerara/Upper Berbice) where she met with education stakeholders, parents and other concerned residents of the community at the Wismar Hill Primary School, as they enjoyed a fruitful interaction on the placements and other issues in relation to the children of One-Mile Primary School that was gutted by fire two Sundays ago. The meeting attracted about 400 people and the minister was accompanied by senior educational officials from Georgetown who met their counterparts from the Regional Education Office.
Ms. Manickchand made it clear that the Government of Guyana is committed to rebuilding the infrastructure that was damaged in the community including the One-Mile Primary School. She however told those gathered that the main focus of the Education Ministry and by extension the Government of Guyana is the placing of all 847 students from the burnt out school into classes on the first day of school which is just two weeks from now.
She said that the residents had to choose if they were going to allow the situation to damage their children or rise up and ensure that they work to prevent any of the children who attended the school not to be disadvantaged by the unfortunate situation.
She said her visit was to put to them the arrangements that have been floating around between her, and education officials from the ministry and the region.
The Education Minister added that the parents and teachers had a right to say what they were comfortable with and what needs to be adjusted.
They were however cautioned that while the aim of the ministry is to ensure that there is comfort for the children come September 3 and beyond, it must not be forgotten that there will be some amount of discomfort and uneasiness because of the arrangements. It was with that, that the minister asked the parents and teachers to be reasonable in their bargaining and requests.
She said that it was important for the residents to look forward and develop the best plan for the children of the community especially those of the burnt out school, she called for all to be involved and at every level.
In pointing out the importance of finding places for the children to start school on 3 September, the Education Minister reminded parents that the only way their children will have a better life and opportunities that were not available to their parents is through having an education and their chances for that opportunity must not be damaged the minister added.
She said that placements for the students was of utmost importance at this time for two reasons, she mentioned the limited time that remains available for the educators and teachers to agree on everything since school reopens on the 03 of September. The other reason she give was the fact that a school was destroyed and it will take a while before there is some amount of normalcy that will start to flow as children and teachers will have to adjust to new conditions under which they will have to operate.
Last week the Ministry of Education and the Regional Education Department of Region Ten were in much discussion and planning on how, where and by when they will be able to place children in time for the reopening of school. The discussions also involved the Regional Chairman and the region’s Member of Parliament all of whom seemed to have a vested interest in ensuring that all students of the region especially the Linden community was ready for school when it reopens.
It was announced that based on the discussion between the officials of the education ministry and regional education authorities in Linden several students from several grades will be strategically place come September 03.
A total of one hundred and fifty students representing six grade one classes will be placed at the One-Mile Nursery School new extension. That extension is located in the compound of the burnt out school which also had a nursery school. It was related that the location that the students will be occupying was initially built because the department of education expected an increase in the number of nursery students from the new school term.
The Grade two students will also be occupying the very building. The grade two has a total of five classes and account for a total of one hundred and thirty five children. It was related to the parents that the new arrangement will force the department to facilitate a double session with the younger one in grade one showing up for school in the morning at 7.30 to 11.30 while the older one in grade two will show up for classes in the afternoon from 12 to 4 pm.
The arrangement was well received by the parents and teachers but not before the clearing up of some misconceptions. The minister made it clear to the parents that while the arrangement of a double session was not a preference it was the best that could have been done at time.
The minister told the parents that she is aware that they will be wondering what their children will be doing for the period that they will be home which will account for almost an entire half day. She added that she is also aware that the double sessions will take away from the instruction time in the class rooms since students and teachers will be spending less time together.
It was there that the parents were told that the Education Department in the region along with the Ministry of Education were trying to secure the service of a church that had a building which could be used for hosting some of the classes. It was announced that should the church be in a position to accommodate the students then the double sessions will not be necessary since with the church and several other buildings that will be made available, students will be able to attend school for entire five hours as is customary.
The Wismar Hill Primary School where the meeting was held will be accommodating grades three, four and five which represent twelve classes and a student population of four hundred and twenty one. This school was made available the very afternoon of the morning that the Wismar One- Mile Primary school was gutted. The students will occupy the auditorium of the school as well as two other classes.
Meanwhile grade six students will be housed at the Block 22 Community Multi- purpose Centre. The grade six comprises of four classes and represents a student population of one hundred and forty two students. The grade six students will not be having a double session and are going to be housed in a building alone. That move is being commended since those children will be preparing to write the National Grade Six Assessment examination next year and placing them in an environment that sees them having less classroom time among other things would not have been helpful to them at the examination, one resident said.
Parents and teachers were given the opportunity to respond to the arrangements and all were well received. Some even asked about transportation for their children from the long distances to the school that they were placed and that was given a thought and will be finalised soon, as one resident has already indicated that she was willing to have her minibus available at cost once the PTA or the department of education secure a driver.
The students though they will be accommodated at other schools will not have to have a change of uniform the ministry confirmed. With the exception of the Wismar Hill Primary School, all other schools and facilities which will accommodate the displaced students are situated in close proximity to where the One-Mile Primary School stood.
At some of the facilities there will be additional sanitary blocks that will be included while better security and securing of other buildings are on the cards for some of the other facilities and which will be worked out and finalized before school is opened on September 3.
Following the scheduled meeting at the Wismar Hill School, Ms. Manickchand met with teachers and later travelled to the burnt out site of the One-Mile Primary School. Other senior education officials also paid visits to other locations that children are expected to be placed come September 03, 2012.
|Last Updated on Monday, 20 August 2012 22:56|
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