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It was in 1984 when our aunt, at the youthful years of 21, courageously received and carried our maternal baton. For at that age, we five orphans were too young to appreciate the finality of our mother’s death but with the maturation of our years we surely did recognise the painful consequence of it, namely poverty. But despite abject poverty, our aunt instilled in us the ethos that impoverished we may but proud we must. And this ethos underpinned all aspects of our lives including the supervision of our schoolwork, where forensically schoolbooks were examined, wherefore to correlate written content with content internalised.
For it was our aunt who introduced us to the exciting world of reading at the never ageing and historic National Library. And abundantly elated we were, at that maiden visit, when registrations were completed and those green library cards, our visas to the exciting new world of reading, were delivered to us. Moreover, without television distraction, the moment we were let loose into this new linguistic world, ravenously all books we devoured before our knowledge thirsty eyes were set upon anything readable, including palms.
Admittedly, it was not until my teenage years that I discerned and appreciated my aunt’s endeavours as her means of equipping us for poverty alleviation through education. And surely those formative years not only paved my way out of poverty but also set the tone in my adult life for which today I’m a highly qualified medical consultant at one of the United Kingdom premier University Hospitals.
No school for impoverished children
The PPP-Government by their disastrous pandemic mismanagement is solely responsible for our Covid cataclysm. For their focus should have been Covid management but inexplicably as Guyanese were placed in graves they made rewarding their political enablers their priority. And for this self serving recompensing excercise, the neglected Covid pandemic transformed, in a matter of weeks, to a national catastrophe. And it is this catastrophe that deleteriously impacted face to face teaching, resulting in our children being deprived of schooling for nearly a year. For unquestionably, reopening schools, as supported by international best practises, should have been the number one priority of this Government. But far from it,
as Covid deaths exponentially increase, the Government made the unbelievable decision to reopen nonessential services namely, rum shops, bars, strip clubs, airports etc. Indeed this indefensible decision is testament to their singular priority of adding billions to the bulging pockets of their enablers while the urgency of our kids’ education was relegated to the column of “To be considered at a later date”.
Brazil Covid variant
Now further complicating our hell below sea level is the imminent disaster of the Brazilian Covid variant, that is likely already under our nostrils just awaiting the inevitable inhalation. But despite this the PPP Government would rather leave us in the dark for it was their ridiculous decision that created an all open port welcome for this deadly variant. And as a direct consequence of their laissez faire mismanagement of Covid, the UK and likely others to follow, has visited us with an indefinite travel ban. Now worryingly for us, within Brazil the Covid variant is spreading rapidly.
Furthermore, as if we haven’t endured enough, we are being forewarned that if this Covid variant, likely already within our borders, is viewed in the context of our present catastrophic Covid cases and deaths, it is likely to result in disaster of further complicating our kids return to school.
Minister of Education out of her depth.
For the Minister of Education is clueless about all matters pertaining to school reopening. Those kids in Albouystown, Lodge, Sophia and Tiger-Bay ect are without schooling for nearly a year which begs the question, what unpardonable crimes have these innocent kids committed to be treated as low-caste pariahs?
But abundantly confident am I that the comprehensively incompetent PPP will soon try to extricate themselves from this education holocaust, for which Mrs. Manickchand will be their conduit to our teachers. For an extraordinary-meeting she will convene, hinting at collaboration when in fact it’s an attempt to entrap the unsuspecting educators. In fact, Mrs.Manickchand, if she can be coaxed from under the school desk, will be instructed to beseech our teachers for recommendations to expedite our kids school return. But unknown to the teachers, Mrs.Manickchand is privy to information that the PPP has placed our kids in the irretrievable position that no number of recommendations can reverse. Now with the teachers’ extracted recommendations, a policy is drafted and shared with the media as the brainchild of our teachers. But unbeknown to the teachers, the PPP aim is to abdicate all responsibilities, since they know that the policy will certainly fail and the blame will be heaped on our teachers as they complete a Houdini type grand escape. But such magical escape is denied our kids, for inevitably they will lose an academic year and likely much more because PPP placed their business community enablers ahead of them.
Tears for our disadvantaged children
From birth, children from disadvantaged communities have to swim against the academic tide and with this Covid tidal wave many are now drowning in education deprivation. For long term consequences there will be of this deprivation as evident in a retrospective analysis of international data of World War II children who were 10yrs old during the conflict in Germany and Austria, both participants in the war, and comparable children in Switzerland and Sweden, both were neutral. For the results found the that children deprived of schooling experienced a sizeable earnings loss some 40 years after the war. Further, the Austrian children missed around 20% of classes during the war with their earnings dropped by around 3%. German children lost around 25% of classes and had earnings dropped by around 5%”. And when this was extrapolated to the UK, where many poorer kids don’t have access to good internet, a computer or educated parents who can help out with the home schooling, it was concluded to be disadvantageous to the poor kids. Sadly, this is our painfully reality, although the impact of school closures is ameliorated for children from wealthy background who can access remote lessons unlike disadvantaged children who are without internet access, computers and educational support at home.
So inconsolable I am at the plight of our disadvantage children who if given the opportunity can be our future doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers, nurses etc. For international evidence makes a painful reading; deprived of schooling for such an inordinate period will close their only door out of the inferno of poverty. And sadly, this social and economic devastation will not end at their doors rather it will be inherited by future generations, further perpetuating the inequalities.
For this is the depressing outlook for our disadvantaged children under this PPP Government. Who is listening? Who is reading? Who cares?