I read a letter by Vincent Alexander in yesterday’s newspapers where Mr. Alexander falsely claims the Government closed night schools in Sophia and Kildonan, and attributed that to the Government being vindictive. Mr. Alexander in his haste to feed his obsession with Vice President Bharat Jagdeo has ignored the truth.

Here are the facts. The Government never ran Night schools in Sophia and Kildonan. In Sophia it was run by a non-governmental group called the Sophia Community Development Association (SOCDA).

The PPP/C believes in making education available to as many persons as possible and has always realized that belief by actual programs. When in opposition and under the leadership of its General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo, the PPP/C crafted a manifesto, which announced our intention to offer 20,000 scholarships to study in foreign universities paid for by the government.

The Government began fulfilling that promise with the establishment of the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL). That program has provided scholarships for more than 25,000 Guyanese to study in over 18 Universities locally and across the world.

Several areas and levels of study are offered. So successful has that program been that it brought our attention to the persons who would have liked to benefit therefrom but who had dropped out of school and/or did not qualify for entrance into the universities and needed a second chance.

As such GROW (Get Ready for Opportunities to Work) was birthed. This is second chance program where students can acquire the General Education Development (GED) and the Scottish Certificate and Qualification Framework (SCQF). These serve as the equivalent to successful high school exit qualifications such as the Caribbean Examinations Council’s (CXC) Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) or the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) that allows for further study at a tertiary level or simply for a feeling of accomplishment, capability and pride by the persons who ventured for that second chance.

In the two years since its birth, the Irfaan Ali led Government has granted 5,887 scholarships to students so that they may get that second chance. Of that number 3567 (60 per cent) of those students have moved up and are currently studying on degree programs in different foreign universities. Some 366 residents of Sophia have graduated GROW and are currently scholarship awardees on GOAL studying for their degrees.

Mr. Alexander may wish to take note of these realities and differences. His government did not believe in and/or could not imagine nor implement a program like GOAL or GROW for mass public benefit of people from all over Guyana. They relied on non-governmental organisations to do that in small numbers. This Government gives second chances to large numbers of persons from every geographic location, religious persuasion, gender and ethnicity.

This is how one changes lives. Bellyaching with falsities in the newspapers, whining about Jagdeo daily, making everything about race and ethnicity has never worked to change lives and I daresay will not work to allow Mr. Alexander that second chance to lead at the Ministry of Education where he served in a leadership capacity for all the time APNU/AFC was in Government. It would have been useful and beneficial if Mr. Alexander’s concern for people had manifested in his service over at the Ministry of Education producing even a single like program to benefit the people of this country or even only those, he says he represents. Sincerely, Priya Manickchand Minister of Education.

 

 

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