THE country watched in awe as students from the Annai Secondary School defeated Guyanese students from schools countrywide, even the much-touted top secondary schools, in a quiz competition telecast across the country on various media channels, to take home the championship trophy.
Annai won the semi-finals against St. Stanislaus College to face off semi-finalists Covent Garden Secondary School, another school that defeated the nation’s ‘top’ secondary schools to reach the finals, from which Annai Secondary School emerged victorious.
Annai is a small village in Region 9 – the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo Region of Guyana. Annai stands at an altitude of 95 metres (314 feet), at the edge of the Rupununi savannahs, where the cattle trail to the Atlantic coast begins. It is nestled in the foothills of the Pakaraima Mountains, and is close to the Rupununi River. Annai, considered to be the gateway to the Rupununi, is approximately 15 miles north of Karanambo and is 416 km (258 mi) by road from the nation’s capital, Georgetown.
Most of the citizens in the area are members of the Macushi people. Annai is one of the northern-most Macushi Amerindian villages in the North Rupununi Savannahs. The students of the Annai Secodary School have also excelled at inter-school sporting competitions.
Yesterday Guyanese students brought home four of eight regional awards that were handed out by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC). These four Guyanese students performed exceptionally well at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.
The Council presented the awards to outstanding achievers Elisa Hamilton, Queen’s College, who copped the award for Overall Outstanding Achievement; Aliyyah Abdul Kadir, Queen’s College, who stood out as the Most Outstanding in Humanities; Ryhan Chand, Queen’s College, who will be recognised as the Most Outstanding in Business Studies; and Kishan Crichlow, New Amsterdam Multilateral School, who copped the spot as Most Outstanding in Technical Vocational.
Last year Guyana won five of the eight awards offered. The winners from Guyana were: Yogeeta Persaud of Anna Regina Secondary School, Overall Outstanding Achievement; Rafena Mustapha of Saraswati Vidya Niketan, Most Outstanding in Humanities; Cecil Cox – Queen’s College, Most Outstanding in Sciences; Sasha S. Woodroffe of Queen’s College, Most Outstanding in Business Studies; and Zimeena A Rasheed, from Anna Regina Secondary School, Most Outstanding in Technical Vocational.
Of recent times, more schools from rural areas have been excelling in CSEC/CAPE exams, with Guyana copping most of the top awards achieved by any one country, which speaks to the equity achieved in the delivery of optimum quality of education countrywide.
The initiatives that Government has implemented to ensure all Guyanese are employable through various educative mechanisms are manifold, and only last Monday, 78 persons of Bartica in Region 7 graduated in several disciplines, including engineering (29), building construction (5), health services (8), information technology (16), and home economics (10), while 10 single parents completed training in catering.
The President’s Youth Choice Initiative, the National Training Programme for Youth Empowerment (NTPYE) and the Single Parent Training Programme, administered by the Board of Industrial Training (BIT), have been providing accessible opportunities to school drop-outs desirous of acquiring employable skills.
In a speech laden with words of encouragement to the new graduates at Leanna’s Kiddie Park in Bartica, Minister of Labour, Dr. Nanda Gopaul, adumbrated some of Government’s people empowerment initiatives through educational programmes countrywide.
Government has been supporting families to educate the nation’s children through, among others, uniform, school feeding, transportation programmes, and more recently its $10,000 education grant initiative, which are all motivating factors for resurgence in the attendance of children to schools countrywide.
Overall, about 3,000 persons graduated in 2013 from the BIT programme, and in excess of 8,000 people have accessed training under the programme.
The NTPYE was introduced in 2005 to allow out-of-school youths an opportunity to learn a skill and make themselves marketable as most of the participants do not have the requisite CSEC qualifications to enter the job market, or may not have completed secondary education.
While some political leaders encourage the country’s youths to pursue lives of crime and justify their criminal forays on the basis of poverty, marginalization, and discrimination, anyone looking at the statistics would recognize the equitable distribution of resources for education and skills-development training countrywide that is consistently delivered by the Government, which has achived the MDG for Primary Education, and is on the fast track for in reaching the targeted MDG for Secondary education.