Expansion, new secondary schools in pipeline for every region – Manickchand

…as sod turned for $257M expansion of 2 Georgetown secondary schools

Construction is ongoing for the expansion and building of new secondary schools across every administrative region in Guyana, as part of the Education Ministry’s plan towards achieving universal secondary education.
On Monday, the sod was turned for the expansion of St Winifred Secondary to the tune of $85 million and East Ruimveldt Secondary School for $172 million.

Minister Priya Manickchand joins students and other officials at the sod turning ceremony for an expanded St Winifred Secondary

The expansion of St Winifred Secondary will create adequate space for students from Grades Seven to 11. The introduction of a science lab along with other additions will ensure that students are equipped to execute their School-Based Assessments.
With a completion timeframe of five months, the end result is a two-story building with classrooms and a modern science lab.
A new Grade Seven block will be constructed by Delph Construction at East Ruimveldt Secondary School. The building will accommodate 10 classrooms, an administrative block, a sanitary block and air conditioning units. This will accommodate some 300 students.

Education Minister Priya Manickchand along with Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education Alfred King examining the expansion plan

Education Minister Priya Manickchand announced several projects, where brand new schools will be built to ensure proper access in all regions.
In Region One (Barima-Waini), two brand new secondary schools are in the pipeline, one of which is to replace the North West Secondary that was destroyed by arson and another at Hosororo.
In Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), Abram Zuil Secondary is being completed along with the building of new dorms to facilitate students from areas like Charity and Pomeroon.
Over in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), the intention is to build schools within the Tuschen and West Bank area.
Plans are also underway to complete Yarrowkabra Secondary School, begin construction at Prospect Secondary, finish works at Good Hope Secondary and introduce a new 800-1000 capacity school at Turkeyen in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica).
Meanwhile, North Ruimveldt, St George’s and St Mary’s Secondary Schools will be rebuilt.
The Education Ministry is looking at creating more dorm spaces in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) for children from riverine areas while Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) will see a brand-new secondary school at Orealla with dormitories.
For Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), a new secondary facility will be built in the Upper Mazaruni area to reduce overcrowding at existing institutions.
In Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), the Paramakatoi and Kato dorms will be extended while examining the possibility of another facility with additional dorm space.
New schools are to be built at Karasabai and the Awarewaunau/Shea area in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) while existing schools will be rehabilitated in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).

It was pointed out that new schools take some 18 to 24 months to be built and will not be ready for the new academic year. However, the Ministry has been diverging funds and working even before budget 2023 to get started on some pending projects. Some of the funding for these new projects will be coming from local funding in conjunction with international financial institutions.
“We are trying in a very strategic way, where we had money that is not going to be spent before this year end, that we get permission from the Ministry of Finance to divert those funds…Some things we can’t wait to do until the next budget or else children suffer and can’t get educated,” the Minister told media operatives.
Manickchand noted that since the last NGSA, it was recognised that there is need for more space and proper secondary institutions to cater for a larger volume of students entering the secondary system. Moreover, limited space and the quality of education was leading to dropouts. She noted that her Ministry has been aiming to achieve universal secondary education, which is neither easy nor cheap.
“It’s not a dream locked down somewhere in our heads. It’s something we are working feverishly towards.”
She noted that in recent years, primary tops were established at many schools – institutions which Government has been trying to eliminate in delivering quality education.
“When we get all those schools in place and there’s a secondary school that is available to every child, then NGSA can serve to say children who are extremely gifted, go to the national schools or are offered places at the national schools; then the regional schools and then everybody else goes to school close to your home.”
Manickchand said they remain vigilant with contractors to ensure that projects are completed within the stipulated timeframe. (G12)