“You don’t need to bring foreigners to process your bauxite. You don’t need to bring in foreigners to manufacture products from timber or gold. You can have the education to do it yourself in due course. Gradually, year after year I want to see more Guyanese doing the same things that the foreigners have been doing for the last 100 years.
“It is the children, who will be going to school in these buses, who are going to be controlling our petroleum industry 10 and 20 years from now. I want to see a nation of owners not a nation of observers; owners of our resources. The owners will be the educated people that we will be sending to school in these buses. I want to see rich Guyanese, not poor Guyanese. I want to see independent thinkers, not dependent workers,” Granger said as he commissioned three new school buses here on Monday night.
“We see education as the gateway to the good life. We see that by providing these buses, boats and bicycles that we will improve access to schools; we will improve attendance and in so doing, we see improved achievement.
“We want to see ‘A’ students and those are the ‘A’s we are working towards today. We have made transportation easier for children and we want to create a more equal society so that they children in Mabaruma, Jawalla and Aishalton would have an equal opportunity to education as the children in Sophia, Industry or Cummings Lodge,” he said.
Granger said that his administration would not be deterred from its mission until every Guyanese child is in school and stays in school.
“Let us keep on keeping on until every Guyanese child can get to school. An education nation will also grow empowered people. We are not demanding anything from the citizens but we are giving them something; educating them, employing them and empowering them. This is not political and partisan, it is a national service.
“You have elected us to serve and we are serving you. When you go into these buses, you will be travelling the highway to education, the highway to employment and highway to empowerment. These buses will not only take us to school but on the road to full employment. We have transformed this country from an ethnic consensus to a platform for empowerment,” President Granger said.
Granger said that it is for this reason that he established the National Endowment for Science and Technology (NEST) programme, which provides funding to schools to support Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiatives.
Guyana, he said, must begin to produce empowered young people who are versed in these areas and can positively develop the rich potential of this nation into real benefits for the citizens.
“I give money to schools, which have science facilities and laboratories and I don’t care about race. I don’t care about location. I don’t care about religion. Hindu schools, Muslim Schools, Christian schools have gotten money and as long as you are teaching Guyanese children, you will get money for science and technology.
“Guyanese you are living in the largest CARICOM state, the most beautiful, the most bountiful, but yet the largest region in Guyana; the Rupununi does not have a proper highway. Our rivers do not have proper stellings. Some of the aerodromes need repairing and refurbishing. Who will do it? Foreigners, no! We have to train a generation of Guyanese engineers and mathematicians; children, who 10 or 20 years from now who will be going in these buses will become our engineers,” an emotive Granger said.
Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally, said through education children will be safeguarded from exploitative and hazardous labour and sexual exploitation and infringement on their human rights.
“This programme has become extremely successful because now we are bridging the education gap between hinterland and coastal regions by providing improved access to transportation for school children to get to and from school.
“Students are now able to get to school on time and parents are no longer burdened with transportation expenses. No longer will education be a distant dream for your children because they reside in rural or hinterland areas or because you cannot afford transportation cost. Under the David Granger Five ‘Bs’ programme we will ensure that all our children continue to have access to transportation,” she said.
Ally said that access to education must not be seen as a privilege for some but as a basic human right for all Guyanese children.
“I want to assure you that we are deeply committed to building a nation where all children, regardless of their gender, socio economic background or circumstances, have access to free, compulsory, equitable and quality education.
“We will not permit the unique talents of our young people to fall by the way side,” she added.
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