Georgetown, Guyana – (October 13, 2019) President David Granger, this afternoon, said that science education is very important to the development of Guyana and as such Government is on a mission to ensure that all schools are equipped with the necessary resources.
President Granger, made these statements while addressing the 15th Graduation Ceremony and Dinner of the Saraswati Vidya Niketan (SVN), located at the Cornelia Ida, West Coast Demerara (WCD). He used the opportunity to commend the not-for-profit secondary school for the emphasis it is placing on science education and later presented a $1M cheque to assist with the expansion of the science programme and the equipping of the science laboratories, which are presently under construction
The Head of State in his address said that science education is obligatory to allow for the development of skills needed to be internationally competitive.
“If you give the school the laboratories and you give the children the laboratories you will see what will happen…Our national Government, today, must provide our schools and our students with the laboratories, libraries and lecture rooms that they need to become scientists. That is my mission,” he said.
The President emphasized that the aim is to have an education system which is more inclusive and which would equip students with the skills needed in today’s knowledge-based world.
“The rate of innovation in the modern global environment is rapid. Science is at the centre of all of these changes,” he said.
Additionally, he noted that the world has entered into its fourth industrial revolution which encompasses the deeper, wider and speedier integration of technologies – physical, biological and informational.
“Many small states, including Guyana, are faced with the challenge of closing the digital divide which was part of the third industrial revolution and we are still faced with the challenge of moving into the fourth industrial age. Science education is vital to ensuring
that small states such as ours are not left behind the rest of the world. Science education will help to promote the skills needed to modernize Guyana,” he said.
Further, President Granger reminded that during the ‘Decade of Development’ which will be launched next year, education will be accorded the highest priority and he assured that other areas of development such as infrastructure and agriculture will not be ignored.
He reiterated that the revenues earned from petroleum production will be deployed in part, but primarily, to provide a first-class education for every Guyanese child.
President Granger said that Guyana is entering a new phase of its development as it will soon become a ‘petroleum-producing state.’
“It is in transition to becoming a ‘green state’ which will place emphasis on the protection of our environment, the preservation of its biodiversity, the promotion of renewable energy and the adoption of practical measures to ensure climate adaptation. Guyana is also becoming, also, a ‘digital state’ and a state which protects our biodiversity,” he said.
It is for this reason, Guyana is placing emphasis, on Information Communications Technology (ICT) which aims to link every household, neighbourhood, community, region and Government agency in the entire country and will integrate Guyana, more fully, with the Caribbean and the rest of the world.
President Granger said that ICT development will transform the economy, add value to our service sectors, spawn knowledge-based industries, diversify the economy away from overdependence on primary production, move manufacturing up the value chain and tap into larger external markets.
In this regard Guyana will need professionals, including scientists to populate these new and emerging sectors.
“Science, technology, engineering and mathematics are essential to learning these subjects and acquiring these skills. It is for this reason that we are emphasizing STEM education, without deemphasizing the humanities. STEM subjects are the foundation for scientific innovation and the basis for product innovation,” he said.
Further, the President said that every school should have well-equipped science and information communications technology laboratories as well as highly qualified science teachers and a curriculum that includes STEM education.
Meanwhile, President Granger said that the SVN is moving along the correct path. “It is emphasizing science education without de-emphasizing the humanities. The school’s decision to erect a science building, equipped with modern laboratories, is a recognition of the validity and urgency of science education,” he said.
He said too that the school’s plan to install a solar system to generate electricity for the school is forward-looking. “Solar energy will allow the school to become a model of renewable energy generation and use throughout the public education system,” he said.
Swami Aksharananda Ji, Saraswati Vidya Niketan’s Founder and Principal noted that this has been an “exceptional” year for the school. He said that a total of eighty-six students wrote the CSEC exam, of which seventy-eight secured a minimum of five subjects of more including English and Mathematics. Of the seventy-eight, seventy-five of them attained ten subjects or more. Nine of the school’s pupils attained at least 12 Grade Ones, the second highest number for any school. Additionally, 29 students attained at least eight Grade Ones.
Further, Swami Aksharananda Ji informed that at this year’s sitting the students attained a total of 518 Grade Ones compared with the 299 last year. The overall pass rate was 95.8%, the second highest in the school’s history.
He attributed the school’s success to the strong emphasis placed on values.
Guest Speaker, Ms. Rama Persaud, Commercial Manager, GuySuCo urged all to support the school in its efforts. She said that the school’s continuous good achievements are as a result of a collective effort.
She charged the graduands to go out into the world and “make your mark”.
Chetram Harrinarine who attained 19 subjects at this year’s sitting was adjudged the best graduating student while Manoj Lachman, who attained 18 subjects was the runner up.
Also graduating were fourteen CAPE students. The best graduating student at this exam was Narindra Persaud, who attained fourteen Unit 1 & 2 subjects.
Among those present for the auspicious occasion were Mrs. Sita Nagamootoo; Mr. Nandram Kissoon, retired Justice of Appeal; Ms. Bonita Harris, women’s rights activist and Mr. Yesu Persaud, prominent businessman.