President Dr Irfaan Ali, in a message to mark World Children’s Day today (November 20), has affirmed that education remains a key element of his government’s plan to ensure a better future for the nation’s children.

According to Dr Ali, World Children’s Day challenges us to reimagine a better future for our children adding that the foundation for a better tomorrow must be built on promoting greater respect for and enforcement of children’s rights, providing adequate protection and care and strengthening children’s education.

The President noted that every child is entitled to be nurtured in a healthy, protective and supportive environment that allows for the realisation of the fullness of his or her potential.

He outlined that everyone has a duty to ensure that the environment for growth and development of every child is created and sustained.

“The Government of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana is committed to promoting the rights of every child. It has enacted keys pieces of legislation relevant to child care and child protection. Guyana is also a signatory to international agreements such as United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and we wholeheartedly are committed to the rights and principles enunciated therein,” he declared.

Ali added that the protection and care of the nation’s children must be of foremost priority and proposed the establishment of more child care programmes and centres. The President pledged more day-care centres for the children of employed mothers adding that a corps of child care providers and protectors will be trained to support this venture.

“Child care and protection must become the responsibility of all of our society. We acknowledge the importance of child care services provided by private individuals, groups and non-governmental organisations. Government will incentivise and provide support to those who provide such services. The pandemic, unfortunately, has disrupted the provision of some of these services. We are however confident that we will eventually see the remission of the pandemic and restoration of normalcy,” he said.

Ali said that the pandemic has adversely affected the nation’s children’s lives and explained that his Government through the Ministry of Education has begun to expand opportunities for children’s learning while alluding to the reopening of schools for students of Grades 10, 11 and 12.

“As we celebrate World Children’s Day 2020, I urge all Guyanese to join with your government in helping to promote the rights of the child, provide improved protection and care for them and to strengthen their education. No child should suffer the indignities associated with violations of their rights or from a lack of a satisfactory education,” he said.