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Universal secondary education by 2016 – Manickchand

Minister of Education Priya Manickchand

Guyana is looking to achieve universal secondary education by 2016 says Minister Priya Manickchand.

She was briefing the media about the ministry’s 2014 plans on Monday at the Cara Lodge.

“We intend to achieve universal secondary education before the first term of the Donald Ramotar administration ends. That means that students across the country that are of a secondary age can access general secondary education.

We have practically achieved universal secondary education in many regions but we have some more work to do in Regions One, Seven, Eight and Nine. We have work to do regarding general proficiency secondary education on the coastland,” Manickchand said.

 President Ramotar was elected in 2011 for a five-year term with elections constitutionally due no later than 2016.

Manickchand highlighted transportation as a major issue for the hinterland students and added that it was one the ministry was tackling aggressively. 

Guyana has already achieved universal primary education in keeping with the Millennium Development Goal which had set 2015 as the benchmark. According to Manickchand, the ministry will now be focusing more attention on quality delivery at the primary level.

On the perpetual concerns about the Mathematics and English performances the minister said work has already started to increase student matriculation.

“We have secured the services of two specialists so we have a special Math person as a Senior Education Officer in the secondary sector. We also have a Math specialist at the National Centre for Education Resource Development (NCERD) and we’re looking to collaborate with the World Bank to introduce some new measures to make learning Math accessible and interesting,” Manickchand related.

Other plans include a greater focus on special needs training and teaching and work on an action plan to increase literacy nationally. The findings from several studies are also to be released, focusing on primary sector literacy level and early childhood learning needs.

“We are going to publish that study shortly with a massive ad campaign that is going to inform parents what their children should know and how it is parents and guardians can teach those children, prior to them entering the formal education system, the things that we think they should know with the materials they have at home,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, the minister said they spent more than 94 percent of their 2013 budget adding that it indicated they were meeting their work targets.

Manickchand said more than 94 percent of the ministry’s budget was spent in 2013. The sector received GUY$28.7B this year from the approved GUY$177.4B national budget.