PRESS RELEASE PNCR RESPONDS TO JAGDEO BASELESS STATEMENT ON EDUCATION People’s National Congress Reform Congress Place, Sophia Georgetown, Guyana Thursday, March 16, 2006

President Jagdeo, embarrassed as he is by the exposure of his government’s colossal failure to manage the drug dominated economy, has again tried to divert the nation’s attention by raising another red herring concerning the education of Guyana’s children. In a recent statement he is reported to have said that the government deliberately failed thousands of children because of the inadequate spaces in the secondary school system.

This statement is so erroneous that the only conclusions that can be drawn are that as President he is totally ignorant of the educational system his government is supposed to be managing and that he, as a beneficiary of the free education offered under the People’s National Congress, has failed to benefit from it, or, having benefited is now mis-using his knowledge in the area of deception. If there is one area that the PNCR must be given credit for, is a coherent and well-thought out educational policy which was competently administered over the years it was in office.

The re-organisation of the school curriculum to make it relevant to an independent and developing nation; the introduction of several streams of academic and vocational training, such as the Community High Schools, the Multilateral Schools; vocational training at the technical institutes around the country and at the Guyana National Service’s many centres; the strengthening of Secondary departments in primary schools are only a few examples. In effect, the PNC ensured that opportunity was provided for all Guyanese children at various levels of ability to maximize their cognitive strengths.

President Jagdeo could not have been mistaken about this, since he himself was a student of the Bygeval Multilateral School, one of several around the country, including New Amsterdam, Bladen Hall, Anna Regina, Linden and Georgetown. Perhaps Jagdeo did not pay much attention to Social Studies while at School or else he would have known about the spanking new University of Guyana Campus, the new Cyril Potter College of Education, the decentralisation of teaching training in many regions, the National Centre for Education and Resource Development (NCERD), formerly the Curriculum Development Unit, the Expansion of the Institute of Distance and Continuing Education and many such Institutions designed to ensure that Guyana’s children were provided with a solid educational foundation.

Jagdeo must also know of the efforts of the PNC to provide free education from Nursery to University and the provision of free text and exercise books to aid the children of the poor. It should also be noted that many criticised the PNC for this programme on the basis that the economy could not afford free education for our children. With respect to Jagdeo’s allegations of the deliberate failure of children, he must be asked to provide the evidence of the allegation since the PNC is confident that no such programme was orchestrated by the PNC Government. In fact no child failed the Common Entrance Examination. The examination was used as a basis to identify and stream students in institutions best geared to respond to their levels of attainment. Jagdeo, perhaps is disclosing one of the policies which his government has introduced. The PNCR therefore demands a full explanation. It is clear, however, that Jagdeo and the PPP, seeking to bolster their chances of re-election, are clutching at straws – regrettably for the people of Guyana, it is a little too late.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana
Thursday, March 16, 2006