No smart classrooms at PC, East Ruimveldt, Brickdam schools
Cathy Hughes’ falsehood exposed:
Former Minister Cathy Hughes during a virtual press briefing claimed that smart classrooms were provisioned to 11 schools under the APNU/AFC Administration. She further added that the smart classrooms were constructed during July 2015 and July 2020.
However, her claims were refuted by Education Minister Priya Manickchand, who said none of the schools listed or named by Hughes had any smart classrooms up and running when the current PPP/C took office in August 2020.
Following the claims by the former Minister, an independent investigation conducted by Guyana Times found that at least three of the schools that Hughes had mentioned did not have fully functional smart rooms.
However, the idea was put forward in 2019 and spaces in the schools were marked to be restructured to serve as smart classrooms.
Acting Principal of President’s College, Samantha Success explained that “the initial project started in 2019, whereby we had to secure the room. Nothing was done in 2020. But in 2021, work progressed very speedily with the carpeting of the floor, the installations of the air conditioning, the wiring. We have the smartboard and smart TV”.
She further disclosed that the school recently had an internet hub installed during February which provides internet to students and teachers on the school’s grounds.
Success noted that the school is now awaiting the special furniture and more equipment to complete the smart room. She further expressed her gratitude and added that the room is now well prepared to have the smart room up and running.
Additionally, visits were made to two other secondary schools; the Brickdam Secondary and East Ruimveldt Secondary School.
Currently, at the East Ruimveldt Secondary School, the construction of the smart classroom is in progress.
A senior teacher of the school explained that infrastructural works have already begun and furniture was supplied during February of this year to the school for use in the smart rooms.
She further explained that the school is now awaiting the equipment, smart boards and TVs, which are slated to arrive later in the month in order to complete the rooms.
Meanwhile, Samantha Alleyne, the Deputy Head Teacher at the Brickdam Secondary School, noted that works had begun on the school’s smart classroom in 2020 – this includes the installation of air-conditioning units and remodelling of the room’s ceiling.
She further explained that in 2021, furnishing and wiring were done. In addition, the flooring will be completed this week.
Godfrey Munroe, the System Development Co-ordinator at the Department of Education told Guyana Times that the schools will receive the necessary furnishing and equipment needed to complete the project. Provisions were made in Budget 2020 and Budget 2021 to make the classrooms possible.
“We are dedicated to complete this project very soon. We want to have the rooms fully functional,” he posited.
On February 10, Education Minister Priya Manickchand had declared open, the second smart classroom in the public school system at Queen’s College. This is the second smart classroom created for the public education sector. The first was done in 2014 at North Ruimveldt Secondary.
Manickchand said the intention is to eventually have a smart classroom rolled out in every high school across Guyana. She said the Education Ministry is on track to deliver 20 more such classrooms within the coming weeks. Manickchand had previously said “ if we had those classrooms functional it would have made life far easier in this pandemic in terms of how we delivered education and the scope it would have given us.” She has also accused the APNU/AFC of trying “to re-invent themselves from the self-serving, uncaring, incapable, inefficient Government they were” and has called on Hughes and the APNU/AFC to try to be truthful at least as far as children’s education is concerned.