Jagdeo opens library for Amerindian students
Stabroek News
September 23, 2002

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President Bharrat Jagdeo has reaffirmed the government's commitment to education saying the country cannot afford to fall further behind.

The President was speaking at the commissioning of the Hinterland's Students' Library at the Amerindian hostel in Princes St last Thursday.

"If we do not prepare as a nation for a changing world we will fall further behind and that is something, as a small country and a very poor nation, we cannot contemplate," he said.

Jagdeo said the education sector was receiving the government's full attention and he noted that while the expenditure on education may not be visible it would be beneficial in the long term.

He acknowledged, however, that to a certain extent the education system was still not responsive to the needs of children.

He did refer to the fact that students from public schools constituted a significant number of the top achievers at this year's sitting of the Secondary School Entrance Examination (SSEE). "This vindicates our expenditure," he said.

Developed at a cost of $5M, the students' library was constructed following a request made to the President by several Amerindian captains at an Amerindian Heritage celebration at Kamarang last year.

The President said he had no hesitation when the request was made because of the government's deep commitment to education.

There was, he said, a traditional bias where people of the hinterland could never be afforded the opportunities of those living on the coast, primarily because of location. But he said the government was moving towards closing the gap. He highlighted the initiation of secondary programmes in Regions 1, 7, 8 and 9 as well as the inclusion of hinterland students in the government's scholarship programmes.