President Dr Irfaan Ali commissioned the Victoria Lily Primary School located at Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo, Region Three, on Tuesday.
The school was built in record time at a cost of under $200 million through a collaborative effort between the Ministries of Education and Housing and Water.
It can accommodate over 300 pupils and is equipped with 12 classrooms, each of which is outfitted with Wi-Fi, an auditorium, a kitchenette, two security huts, sanitary blocks, and an area set aside for assembly.
In his keynote address at the commissioning ceremony, President Ali emphasised that the modern facility is a testament to the government’s commitment to providing quality education in a conducive environment for the nation’s children.
It is classified as a ‘C’ grade institution. It will be the first primary institution where Spanish will be taught from Grades one to five.
The President stated that including Spanish as one of the core languages in the school’s curriculum is necessary due to the increasing number of Spanish-speaking children enrolled on the school system.
“This community is one of the communities that is now heavily and highly influenced by the influx of migrants and the integration of Guyanese back here,” he said.
According to President Ali, while the government has heavily invested in improving education infrastructure nationwide, there is an emphasis on enhancing performance in core subject areas at the school level.
However, he expressed concern about the overall pass rate in mathematics, even though students continue to perform well in major national and regional examinations.
To address this, the President stated that the government will deploy a comprehensive strategy, which will incorporate additional tools and increase the number of hours dedicated to mathematics.
“We cannot continue with the existing pass rates in mathematics. It is unacceptable […] I am of the view that perhaps create additional compulsory hours for mathematics in the secondary school system, especially at the exam level.
And for us also to move to see what is the available tool interns of AI ( Artificial Intelligence) and to incorporate AI into the delivery of learning outcomes in mathematics,” he said.
President Ali also mentioned plans to streamline the bureaucracy within the education system for easier access to basic supplies for classrooms, including the intention to distribute resources directly to schools.
Meanwhile, Minister of Education Priya Manickchand highlighted that the most massive infrastructure buildout in education is underway under the PPP/C government.
Between March and August, the Ministry designed, tendered and awarded contracts for seven new secondary schools, including one in Tuschen. Primary schools will also be built in several areas, including Recht Door Zee.
Minister Manickchand further noted that all necessary supplies are being provided for the classrooms, and teachers are receiving training alongside their salaries. The children will also benefit from the hot meal programme and receive textbooks.