A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) calls on the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) to fix this country’s broken primary schools. ‘First-day disarray’ once again affected primary schools country-wide on Monday 2nd September. The chaos continued all through September up to today.
The People’s Progressive Party/Civic administration is presiding over a broken primary school system that is failing the most vulnerable section of the population – our children. The disorganisation in the country’s primary schools has contributed to high rates of delinquency and low standards of performance. The atrocious results at the essential annual National Grade Six Assessment examinations are evidence of a diseased system.
‘First-day disarray’ on Monday 2nd September this year was only the most recent in the series of annual calamities that plague primary schools countrywide. It was a distressing display of the disorder which the PPP/C administration and the Ministry of Education have inflicted on the more than 100,000 public primary school students.
Protests are now as commonplace as any subject on the school curriculum. Parents and students find it necessary to object to the conditions which are a disincentive and a deterrent to their studies. Remedial action, when taken, seems to last only a few months until similar problems recur the following year.
Protests in September 2013 against appalling conditions at schools, many of which are located in poor rural and hinterland areas, were the main means of attracting the PPP/C administration’s attention to the circumstances under which children study. Maladministration was reported in the East Berbice-Corentyne Region and elsewhere. Incidents at the following schools made the newspaper headlines:
- Port Kaituma Primary School in the Barima-Waini Region;
- Mahdia Primary School in the Potaro-Siparuni Region;
- Beterverwagting Practical Institute Centre in the Demerara-Mahaica Region;
- Parika-Salem Primary School and La Parfaite Harmonie Primary School in the Essequibo Islands-West Demerara Region;
- St Agnes’ Primary School;
- Moblissa Primary School.
Protests this year were a perpetuation of a pattern that has prevailed over the recent past. There were protests at Hope West Primary School; at Enmore; Ann’s Grove Primary School; Bagotville Primary School; Golden Grove Primary School and St. Ignatius Primary School in the Rupununi Region – all in 2009. Sporadic protests have recurred every September.
The public perception is that the PPP/C administration is not serious about creating primary schools of excellence. A progressive policy would require a new attitude to ensuring that basic sanitary standards are met; to repairing decrepit buildings; to replenishing learning materials; to supplying cleaning materials and to restoring a favourable and friendly learning environment, especially in rural and hinterland primary schools.
These poor conditions, so evident at the annual ‘first-day disarray,’ have been a contributory factor to the escalation of the migration of trained teachers, the rising level of illiteracy, the increasing number of school dropouts and the swelling of the ranks of unemployed youths.
APNU will continue to work for the improvement of the infrastructure and teaching standards of our primary schools. APNU remains fully committed to ensuring that all children can receive the quality education which will help them to attain the “good life” to which they are entitled.