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Manickchand turns sod for $89 million nursery school

Two hundred and seventy pupils will be accomodated at the Martyrs’ Ville Nursery School on the East Coast Demerara which when completed will represent a 89 million dollar investment in the education sector.

On Tuesday, Education Minister Priya Manickchand and several officials from the Education Ministry and Department of Education participated in a sod-turning exercise signifying the start of construction.

During a simple ceremony, Minister Manickchand told residents that the school is a priority for the Government which is evidenced by the school’s construction being catered for in the first budget passed by her Government since assuming office in August 2020.

According to her, despite nursery education not being compulsory in Guyana, the statistics show that Guyanese parents take that education level very seriously. Hence efforts have to be made to ensure that children have access to nursery schools across Guyana.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, when all schools were open for face-to-face teaching, children from Martyrs’ Village at the nursery age had to attend the Mon Repos Nursery school, which is approximately one mile from their community.

It was pointed out that presently 42 children from Martyr’s Ville attend the Mon Repos Nursery school, and providing that schools can be reopened while they are still at nursery age, they will be able to participate in a school closer to home.

Minister Manickchand noted that the aim is not just to provide a classroom for pupils to sit but also to receive a quality education.

Guyana has already achieved Universal Primary Education but is yet to achieve Universal Nursery and Secondary Education Manickchand noted.

She made it clear that there will be zero tolerance for slothfulness regarding the project and that the Ministry and the community residents are looking forward to the completion of the school by August 31, 2021, which marks the end of the contractual timeline.

Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General Mohabir Anil Nandlall said that it is an honour for him to be associated with the project since he grew up in the community. He said that the community has transformed over the years and that further development is in the pipeline.

Chief Education Officer Dr. Marcel Hutson said that the school would be built to focus on developing the ‘total child’ by addressing access, safety, health, and enhancing teaching and learning processes.

He said that the Ministry is cognizant that nursery education is the foundation and pacesetter of all other education levels that follow.

Meanwhile, the Project Coordinator and Head of the Ministry’s Buildings Unit, Ron Eastman, said that the total cost is $89 million and will accommodate 270 students.

He added that the facility would have over eight classrooms and contain a modern sanity block, an independent water system, and outdoor recreation space.