With the start of the school year today for the start of the school year, several secondary schools in regions 3 and 4 are facing the problem of overcrowding.
In an attempt to remedy the situation, the Ministry of Education has decided to set up tents in some of the affected schools while in other schools a rotation system is in place.
Guyana Teachers’ Union general secretary Coretta McDonald said the situation was worrying. However, Education Minister Priya Manickchand, while acknowledging the problem, said it indicated more children were attending school.
“Space in secondary schools has become a real problem. This is a good thing because it testifies to policies that lead to the retention of a greater number of students, ”wrote Minister Manickchand on her Facebook page.
East Ruimveldt Secondary School is among the schools in the city where tented classrooms are being built.
Minister Manickchand said the decision to erect the tents was taken in consultation with the parents of the schools involved.
“Where there was space, each school’s APE, in consultation meetings held, was offered rotation or tents with air conditioning units installed. Where you see tents was said PTA’s choice. Where there was no space to pitch tents, we had no choice but to rotate,” explained the Minister of Education.
She said that in some cases the buildings were rented.
“At Graham’s Hall Primary you will see a tent because the PTA chose to send their children back to school rather than squatting at Cummings Lodge Secondary. This made room for additional children at Cummings Lodge Secondary,” she explained.
But while she said the space issue is an indication of a higher retention rate, Minister Manickchand also blamed the former government which has been out of power for two years.
“The fact that Good Hope, Yarrowkabra and St Roses Secondary Schools were never completed for five long years, that no further secondary schools were built and that St George’s High and North Ruimveldt and North West Secondary were set on fire was not helpful,” she said.
The Education Minister believes that the Because We Care cash grant and the increase in the number of children taking National Sixth Grade Assessment (NGSA) exams are among the factors influencing on the number of students in secondary schools.
“This year, 2,000 more children took the exam than last year. And 2,000 more children need secondary school places than last year. A happy consequence,” she reasoned,
According to her, the Ministry of Education is rebuilding schools that were destroyed by fire, while expanding existing schools such as East Ruimveldt School and St Winifred Primary.
Two new schools, she said, are being built in Georgetown, two more in Region 3, one in Region 7 and one in Karasabai.
“In addition, Queen’s College and Bishop’s High are currently being extended and St Stanislaus and St Joseph’s are due to be extended next year, which will accommodate the most children in our country’s history in national schools. “better,” she added.
The Minister of Education assured that by this time next year, the education sector will be in a better position to achieve universal secondary education.
But GTU General Secretary Coretta McDonald has expressed concern that the tents may not be conducive to learning, particularly due to the high temperatures.
“East Ruimveldt is overcrowded; you have no place for them but you will put them in tents. Now, with this heat, I don’t know how the children are going to be able to concentrate in this heat, and how many fans they are going to be able to put under these tents to keep it cool,” the GTU General Secretary said. said.
She said that, based on information received, tents have been erected at Vergenoegen Secondary School, St John’s College and East Ruimveldt Secondary School, among others.
According to her, the schools concerned had long since informed the Ministry of Education of the number of children who could be accommodated, but they were nevertheless allocated additional children.