FOLLOWING the official signing of a contract between the Ministry of Education (MoE) and International Import and Supplies on Friday, construction of a $173M Practical Instruction Department at the North West Secondary School in Mabaruma, Region One, will soon commence.
The works, which will be done under the Guyana Skills Development and Employability Project, will see the construction of a two-storey, 6,480 square feet building that will house three workshops. Additionally, an existing 2,956 sq. ft. building will be renovated to house two additional workshops.
The project, which will start in 28 days, is expected to be completed in 12 months.
The department, when completed, is expected to facilitate Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) Levels 1 and 2 training in commercial food preparation, motor vehicle repairs, electrical installation, furniture making, carpentry and joinery, home economics and housekeeping.
Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand noted that the move to have the department constructed in Region One is in keeping with the government’s vision to ensure equal opportunities for education throughout the country. She said based on studies, the ministry has assessed that this type of vocational learning would greatly benefit the students in the region.
“We are trying right now to match the communities that we see the least interest in writing the CSEC exam, with how we could make sure that you leave school with qualifications that would make you employable, and these are some of the gaps we are trying to plug. This would help us in this particular community,” the Education Minister said.
Government had previously made clear its intent to broaden the local education spectrum through diversifying classrooms to include not just theoretical learning, but also practical hands-on learning through the utilisation of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) across the sector.
“We are looking to develop and advance our offerings at the technical and vocational levels, and that sounds all nice and well, but we can’t enhance anything if we don’t have the facilities in place. So, this programme here is going to allow us to offer to the people of the North West District; those students at Mabaruma, the ability to be able to become more employable; to get more skills to develop themselves through the use of this facility,” she stated.
This project marks the first of six Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) expected to be piloted by the Ministry of Education in an effort to advance the local education sector.
Speaking to the timeline for the completion of the project, Minister Manickchand noted that the ministry is completely against the recent culture that has seen contractors extending their work “way past” their estimated time of completion.
She stated that the ministry is expecting quality work to be delivered in keeping with the estimated timeline that was agreed upon by the contractor. She said any delay in the project would be “robbing” the children of Guyana.
“If you don’t give us that, you will be robbing the children and students, and people of what you promised them you would deliver. If you bid for a project and you say I can do it for a certain amount in a certain time, you have to do it for that amount and in that time, because someone else could have gotten that project, and would have been able to stick to their timeline. So, when people bid and win, they must be honourable and stick to what they said they will do,” Minister Manickchand said.