(August 18, 2022) – The winners of the World Refugee Day 2022 Migrant Essay Competition received their prizes from the Ministry of Education and the Pan-American Development Foundation (PADF) during a prize giving ceremony at the Ministry’s 26 Brickdam office.
The Coordinator of the Ministry of Education’s Disaster Risk Prevention and Migrant Support Unit, Ms. Rampattie Prashad-Bisnauth said that the idea for the competition came about after interacting with Emily Vaamonde-Beria, a migrant student who topped the Crane Primary School last year at the National Grade Six Assessment. She said that the student shared her experience on her journey from Venezuela to Guyana and that it was interesting hearing the story being told from a child’s point of view. As such, she thought it would be a great idea to allow other students to share their stories.
“We should give children that chance to express themselves so that we can understand from their point of view how they feel about the whole process of journeying from whichever country and it’s not only Venezuela. We have students from Venezuela, Trinidad, Barbados, Suriname, Ukraine, the US and we have two from Canada recently. So, we have students from different countries,” Ms. Bisnauth explained.
She said that currently, there are 2098 migrant students enrolled in public school and medical school. Further, she said that the competition did not only have participants who came from different countries but also students who moved from one Region in Guyana to another.
Chief Education Officer, Dr. Marcel Hutson said that the Ministry is moving towards developing a language policy. He said that the policy will be holistic and that it will deal with various languages.
He said that this is just the beginning of many programs of that nature that will be rolled out. He said that the Ministry of Education and the Government of Guyana views every child in Guyana regardless of where they come from as being capable of adding value to the country.
Meanwhile, Project Director of the Pan-American Development Foundation, Mr. Jermaine Grant said that the Ministry of Education among other agencies have been very supportive of the effective integration of migrants and refugees. He said that it is notable that the Ministry of Education has set up the Migrant Support Unit.
He said that the competition was not just an essay competition, but it was a competition that allowed Guyanese as well as migrant children to present their stories and understanding of what it is like to be a migrant.
Assistant Chief Education Officer (Literacy), Ms. Samantha Williams said that the Ministry of Education is committed to ensuring that all our children acquire basic literacy skills. He said that this is evident with the establishment of a new Department of Literacy.
She said that since the department was established in January of this year, officers have been working in various schools and communities to promote literacy so that citizens can achieve a functional literacy level.
According to Ms. Williams, her department is working on a bilingual program to support the use of indigenous languages within the school system. She said that in Region Nine, the Ministry has started in three nursery schools whereby students are being taught in their native language within the school.
She said the program will evolve to cater for children who speak other indigenous languages. She said that the Ministry is very committed to ensuring that the population achieves functional skills so that all Guyanese can contribute not only to the development of their families but also to the growth and development of Guyana.
The Winners are:
White Water Primary - 1st - Junior La Cruz
Mabaruma Primary - 2nd - Escarli Marquez
C.V. Nunes Primary - 1st - Madison Chappell
C.V. Nunes Primary - 2nd - Samuel Jaikissoon
Meten Meer Zorg Primary - 1st - Robert Matheus
Belle West Primary - 2nd - Angelia Ondhram
Tuschen Primary - 3rd - Jose Rondon
Windsor Forest Primary - 3rd - Sheila Parray
Belle West Primary - 3rd – Trellisa Anastacia Schultz Parks
Plaisance Primary - 1st - Kezia George
Plaisance Primary - 2nd - Orlando Pooran
Plaisance Primary - 3rd - Tejini Ronald
Novar Primary school - 1st - Steve Pancham
No. 29 Primary - 2nd - Kehandra Frazer
Calcutta Primary - 3rd - Akeisha Lindo
St. Anthony’s Primary - 1st - Emily Josannys Lugo
St. John – The – Baptist Primary - 2nd- Jairo Diaz
St. Anthony’s Primary - 3rd - Jose Daniel Silva
Mackenzie Primary - 1st - Dairelys Rodriquez
Amelia’s Ward Primary - 2nd - Ameer Khan
North Georgetown Primary - 1st - Leanna Carmichael
North Georgetown Primary - 2nd - Jayla Harris
St. Stephen’s Primary - 3rd – Ethan Sookan