(March 11, 2023) – A new library was opened today at the Mon Repos Primary School on the East Coast of Demerara. This was made possible through the efforts of ‘Spread the Words’, a group led by Ms. Laura Ryan.
The Honourable Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand delivering remarks
At today’s opening ceremony, the Honourable Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand said that the establishment of the library fits directly into the agenda of the Ministry of Education. She said that the Ministry has set a goal that every child must be a reader by Grade Four. According to the Education Minister, currently, at the exit examinations, there is evidence to show that many children cannot read.
She said that the Ministry is in the quest to ensure that every child across the country can exit primary school fully literate. She said that the new library will not only serve the children attending the Mon Repos Primary School but also those within the community who attend other schools.
Minister Manickchand said that the Government of Guyana is working to ensure children are educated so that they can benefit from the development that is happening in the country and actively participate in that development. Minister Manickchand thanked Ms. Ryan for her contribution and efforts. She said that it is important that people engage in projects and activities that will have a lasting impact on the lives of those around them.
Ms. Laura Ryan, Founder of Spread the Words delivering remarks
This is the third school that Ms. Ryan and her team established. The other two schools are Belle West Primary School and Plaisance Primary School. Minister Manickchand said that similar projects can be done in other communities which will support the Government’s thrust to make every child a reader.
Ms. Ryan said that her team of volunteers had a vision of creating a beautiful space, “where children could gather; a colourful, fun and inviting area where fairies and unicorns, heroes and villains would grab their imaginations.”
She thanked the teachers and parents of the school for allowing her team the opportunity to work on the project and bring it to completion for the students. She encouraged the learners to make full use of the library, care the books, and return them on time. Quoting Dr. Seuss, she said “The more you read, the more you’ll know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Meanwhile, Chief Librarian at the National Library, Ms. Emily King encouraged the team to continue their work and go into more communities to establish similar facilities. She said that reading builds the minds and skills of every individual.
Ms. King suggested that the use of the library should be integrated into the school’s program and not be used when there is ‘free time’. She encouraged the teachers to ensure their learners utilize the library and to reach out to parents so that they can make sure their children are reading.
Regional Education Officer for Region Four, Ms. Stembiso Grant said that libraries are a storehouse of knowledge and are important to the development of education. She said the Region is working to achieve the goal of the Ministry to ensure each child is a reader by Grade Four. She said that though there has been improvement in the area of literacy, there is still work to be done. She too urged the teachers to have their learners use the library and borrow books.
Also present at today's opening was Deputy Chief Education Officer (Development), Ms. Volika Jaikishun and the Assistant Chief Education Officer (Primary), Mr. Rabindra Singh.