Georgetown, Guyana – (July 28, 2018) Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, today, said that the billions of dollars which have been plugged into the education and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sectors by the Government, are paying dividends as he congratulated the top ten students of the Essequibo Islands- West Demerara (Region Three), all of whom have secured a spot at the nation’s premier secondary institution, Queen’s College.

Minister Harmon was at the time speaking at a simple ceremony organised by the Ministry of Education at the Regional Education Office, Plantain Walk, West Bank Demerara, where the top ten students received tokens for their outstanding performance.

Noting that the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) is a critical point in the promotion of learning at the primary level, Minister Harmon said that this assessment enables the nation to identify the ‘cream of our human resource potential’ as a nation and serves as the basis for the placement of students in the secondary school system so that those with the acumen and ability can benefit from the best environment and facilities to forge ahead with their academic endeavours and educational development.

“This system, though not perfect, seeks to provide those with the potential and talent with the best opportunities and resources for continued success as they move from the primary to the secondary level of education. This assessment, albeit very important, is but one aspect of our Government’s wider perception of the role of education and its importance to national development. With regard to that wider perception, it is our conviction that the objective of creating a ‘green’ state and ‘green’ economy through the sustainable development of our vast resources for the benefits of all of our citizens and of providing a good life for all of our citizens can be achieved only by people with a first class education. This has been emphasised by President David Granger,” he said.

Minister Harmon said that this conviction can be discerned by the resources that the Government has allocated to education over the past three years and the efforts that have been made to improve the public educational system with technology such as smart classrooms, ICT hubs and other such tangible projects.

“Our programme to modernise the educational sector and improve the delivery of education in our rural communities across Guyana, by making ICT available in classrooms, the development of smart classrooms, virtual classrooms, computer laboratories in the schools and e-libraries for distance education and e-learning are continuing. Region Three has not been left out of these developments. For example, Zeeburg Secondary School and the SVN Hindu School received one million dollars each to boost their Science and Technology laboratories while so far, 12 secondary schools and 27 primary schools have been provided with internet service. In addition, 22 ICT hubs have been installed in communities in Region Three that will enable students without internet access at home to complete research, assignments and other school based activities,” the Minister of State noted.

He informed that these interventions into the education sector and the community connectivity programme are testimony to the Government’s push to ensure that the skills needed in the country’s development programmes are nurtured, developed and embedded in all levels of the education system and in all communities, urban and rural, on the coastland and in the hinterland.

“Our efforts, I am pleased to say have yielded many positive results including those at the NGSA. From 2015 to 2018, there has been a steady and significant improvement in the success rate at the NGSA especially in Mathematics and English Language not only in the percentage of passes, but in the wider spread of success to encompass all the regions of Guyana especially our hinterlands regions. These successes are also the result of the efforts of our teachers, parents and the Ministry of Education all of whom have collectively and individually, supported our children along the way. I therefore take this opportunity to commend you all for your efforts,” Minister Harmon said.

Meanwhile, Ms. Carol Benn, Senior Education Officer at the Ministry of Education told the students that the opportunities before them are now boundless and they must ensure that they take advantage of these.

“Achievement is yours for the taking but your success is not only measured only on your education. You need to become rounded citizens. Get involved in youth clubs, in extracurricular activities, play a game of football, cricket, join the dance class, make yourselves rounded regardless of whichever school you are placed. You need to set high expectations for yourselves. I am proud of you,” she said.

Ms. Anesta Douglas, Regional Education Officer of Essequibo Islands- West Demerara, in her remarks, said that the region and the Ministry thought it best to reward the top students as they had done exceedingly well. She noted that the effort is a continuous one, which will be undertaken in all of the regions to motivate and inspire other young minds to continue to work hard. Ms. Douglas also noted that the outstanding achievements are as a result of a collective effort by the education officials, parents, teachers and the students themselves even as she pledged continued support in whatever way possible.

The students who received tokens were: Darren Ramphal of Leonora Primary School, who copped 522 marks, Saif Azeze from the Academy of Excellence (522 marks), Virendra Dookie, Leonora Primary School (521 marks), Devina Chan, Vreed en Hoop Primary (520 marks), Ziya Haniff, Vreed en Hoop Primary (519 marks), Haresh Persaud, Academy of Excellence (519 marks), Bhairav Hardat, Leonora Primary (518 marks), Narendra Maraj, Academy of Excellence (518 marks), Afiyah Harry, Academy of Excellence (518 marks) and Zackiea Ali, Meten Meer Zorg Islamic (518 marks).

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