Georgetown, Guyana – (August 25, 2019): President David Granger, this afternoon, attended the 12th anniversary celebration of Solomon’s Temple located at Philippi, East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six) where he said the Church has a vital role to play in education.

“It is equipped to play a role in ensuring that education is directed towards the good of society. The Church, because of its moral authority, is trusted by the citizens to educate children in values for the common good. These values include compassion, cooperation, humility, integrity and respect,” President Granger said.

The Head of State who was accompanied by First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger said Philippi has a proud tradition in education, having produced many educated persons including some who have served as civil servants, nurses, soldiers, and teachers to name a few.

The President explained that Philippi Village was part of the post-Emancipation ‘Great Village Movement’. A Movement which represented their efforts to consolidate their freedom through economic emancipation.

He reminded that the Church held a central position in the villages established by Africans after Emancipation. The Church, he said, along with the farm, home and school were the four pillars upon which the earliest African Villages rested. Philippi Village was purchased more than 100 years ago by a group of 28 freed Africans who had established a thriving farming community.

“The Church led the drive to establish schools and to provide both religious and secular education to Africans both prior and post-Emancipation. I have often expressed the nation’s appreciation to the Church for the phenomenal role it played in educating our people,” President Granger said.

Notwithstanding, he noted that Philippi is a mixed community, with families such as the Bagots, Basils, Benschops, Campbells, Dabydeens, Drepauls, Hansrajs, Kumars, Lords, Mathesons, Moonsammys and Persauds – reflecting its multiracial character.

The President told the congregants of Solomon’s Temple that free education is an entitlement mandated by the Constitution of Guyana at Article 27 which states: “Every citizen has the right to free education from nursery to university.”

“My government will utilize the resources, which Guyana will soon earn from petroleum production, to restore free education from nursery to university. Education is essential to human development,” the President said.

President Granger continued: “This is an entitlement of the Guyanese child to be educated at the cost of the State…the care and education of our children must be given priority over everything else.”

He reminded that education is essential and imparts the beliefs, habits, knowledge, skills and values which people need in order to become productive citizens; fosters a person’s intellectual development by helping him or her to understand the world better; supports economic development as the basis for providing the skills necessary for a trained workforce and is the underlying factor behind innovation, one of the drivers of economic growth; opens economic opportunities and can help lift people out of poverty thereby reducing inequalities and availing the means for individuals to provide for their families; engenders greater upward mobility and facilitates a more creative and resilient life; and promotes inclusion, facilitates the participation of persons in society, strengthens human ties and furthers societal well-being.

President Granger said there are too many young people not in education, employment and training (NEET) and called on Solomon’s Temple to continue playing a role in helping young people to break barriers and cycles of poverty.

“Education has a moral dimension and could be directed towards the good of the individual and society. Children go to school and to university so that they can become good, productive and useful citizens. We educate them to acquire knowledge, skills and the right values – industry and honesty. The religious community collectively – churches, mandirs and masjids – is the custodian of the society’s moral values. The Church, therefore, cannot be neutral when it comes to education. It must ensure that education serves the end towards which it is directed – the individual’s personal development and the common good,” the President said.

The Head of State noted that the Church must play its part in ensuring that education is not devoid of values. He posited that education must shape the persons to become the best he or she can be, intellectually, morally and spiritually.

“Education is the responsibility of the family, the community, the church and the country. Education begins in the family, is continued in schools and universities and is reinforced within our communities and churches,” he said adding that the Church is an agent of socialization.

The Church, the President said, is an educator because it dispenses knowledge, helps persons acquire skills and inculcates beliefs, habits and values. Recalling his own experience of the relationship between church and school, the President said, “The four

primary schools I attended – St. John the Baptist Anglican Primary School in Bartica; the Auchlyne Church of Scotland School on the Corentyne; Comenius Moravian Primary School in Queenstown and Sacred Heart Roman Catholic School also in Georgetown – all had churches which were annexed or located within the same compound.”

The President recalled also that each Masjid had a Madrasa– a room for teaching children, while each Mandir had a school which taught a wide range of subjects.

“The Church can become a vehicle for ensuring that no one – man, woman or child – is left behind in this journey towards the emergence of an ‘education nation’. The Church can help to fill gaps within our education system through the provision of classes in literacy and numeracy, the encouragement of remedial education and the promotion of skills training. The Church can become more integrally involved in providing education for our children,” President Granger posited, while noting that he would like to see a school in every village.

Additionally, President Granger said Guyana’s public education system is being put on the right path as it is being aligned to ensure an inclusive and quality education so that all of the nation’s children can be equipped to participate in a more developed and modern economy.

“The Church must continue its role in building the character of our children so that they can be equipped not just with knowledge and skills but also the values to contribute to the good of society,” he said as he called on Solomon’s Temple not to abandon its historical role of moulding the nation’s children.

Ms. Barbara Pilgrim, Member of Parliament; Ms. Winifred Heywood, Mayor of New Amsterdam and Mrs. Kim Stephen, Regional Executive Officer (REO) East Berbice-Corentyne also attended the ceremony.

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