HUNDREDS of Guyanese residing in Region 6 (East Berbice-Corentyne) came out yesterday to receive their ‘Because We Care’ grant as the Education Ministry undertook a hectic distribution calendar at numerous locations where an estimated $19M was distributed.
Parents yesterday from nursery, primary and secondary schools were seen assembling early at the different locations to receive their grant.
JC Chandisingh Secondary, Cropper Primary, Ankerville Nursery and Port Mourant Primary, among many others, were a few of the schools that started the distribution process.
Twelve distribution centres were set up to serve parents in Region 6, with the school’s name and the grades labeled to make the delivery process smooth and expeditious. Also very noticeable in the community were many teachers and head teachers who voluntarily attended the event to assist in whatever way they could.
The Guyana Chronicle took the opportunity to mingle and speak with parents and guardians receiving the grant, and they unanimously said that they were grateful, and expressed “sincerest thank you” to the Education Ministry and the Government of Guyana.
Ms Narine, who has eight children, noted: “This will help out; dem does walk to school, but I can buy things for dem to eat.” She also related that she tries her best to make sure all her children go to school, because, without an education, “we are nowhere.”
And a grandmother noted that she is currently raising her grandchild since both parents have deserted the child, and it was somewhat difficult for her to collect the grant but she is very grateful for the intervention of the Education Minister.
Regional Chairman for Region 6, Mr David Armogan who chaired the brief ceremony held at the JC Chandisingh Secondary auditorium, explained that the ‘Because We Care’ programme’ “was started in Berbice Friday last, and today we are here to roll out this programme in central Corentyne.” He further said that this programme was conceived by the Government to assist parents so that they can be able to have their children attend school regularly.
Meanwhile, during her address to the parents, Education Minister Priya Manickchand expressed her heartfelt gratitude to all the hardworking teachers and headteachers of the various schools. She noted that because the grant was being distributed on a Sunday, some teachers were not available to assist; but some from other schools, namely New Amsterdam, made themselves available to assist where it was necessary.
“Your mere presence here this morning shows your commitment to educate your children and to make them into sound citizens who will have a better future,” Minister Manickchand said, adding:
“This shows that we have good partners in you; and together we will make our children into adults who will excel and take our country forward.”
The Education Minister emphasised that persons should know that this is not a selective programme, as every child in the public system is entitled to this grant. “When the government delivers a service; when we in the PPP (People’s Progressive Party) deliver a service, we deliver to every single person across this country. Everybody gets an equal opportunity,” she said.
Minister Manickchand assured parents and guardians that the government and her ministry will continue to work hard to ensure that every child gets an education. “And this is a promise,” she said.
During the feature address, President Donald Ramotar emphasised that the programme was launched so that the government can assist parents in sending their children to school regularly.
He reminded parents that providing money is only one way of assisting their children to achieve a good education, and advised that finding the time to sit with them when they are doing their homework or getting involved with the school and following their progress are other important ways of assisting.
The Head of State declared that this programme is a continuity of what the government has been doing since in office, and he added that the administration is convinced that “the most important factor in the country is our people and this is where our investments have been placed.”
“People are the most important factor for development, and we have been investing in our people throughout the years,” he said.
He noted that the government has invested in many projects to assist the children, namely the One Laptop Per Family programme, the school feeding programme, and the uniform grant, among others.
Ramotar also highlighted the need for certain infrastructure in the country, such as the Amaila Falls hydro project, the Specialty Hospital, the expansion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) and the upgrading and establishment of airstrips in interior locations, all being crucial to the development of the country.
He also alluded to the fact that Guyana has achieved universal primary education and is on its way to achieve universal secondary education. And only recently the Education Ministry has embarked on equipping each student with textbooks in order to relieve parents of that cost.
The distribution was also attended by Agriculture Minister, Dr Leslie Ramsammy, Public Works Minister Robeson Benn and General Secretary of the Guyana Rice Producers Association (RPA), Dharamkumar Seeraj, all of whom assisted in Region 6 yesterday, where more than $18M was disbursed to parents of students in the public school system.