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Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, announced that by the end of July students will start receiving $30,000 cash grant, which is the sum total of the combined ‘Because We Care’ and ‘School Uniform and Supplies’ grants The announcement was made yesterday at the Georgetown Department of Education Regional Awards Ceremony for the Academic year 2020-2121.
According to the Minister this is the first time that “every single student…in this country, nursery, primary and secondary will receive $30,000 as an assistance to getting themselves outfitted.” The grants are to be used to purchase school supplies, including uniforms and textbooks.
Education in Guyana is constitutionally free from nursery to university (Article 27). In the 1970s when this right was enshrined in law, the Education Programme of the Forbes Burnham administration saw free uniforms, exercise and text books, transportation, and meals provided for children to attend school and also nourishment while in school.
Free education is still constitutionally guaranteed but students of the University of Guyana have to pay tuition fees, buy their own exercise and text books; and at the secondary and primary levels, students have to buy their own uniforms, exercise and text books.
Guyana is an oil rich country. In 2022 Guyana’s revenue from oil sales is expected to be US$957.6 million. Minister Manickchand informed the attendees at the event that the grants “are small interventions, but you know what they mean.”
Last year government’s ‘Because We Care’ ($19,000) and ‘School Uniform and Supplies’ ($4,000) cash grants were earmarked for every school age child in both the private and public schools. This year, the $19,000 will move to $25,0000 dollars, and the $4,000 to $5,000, bringing the total to $30,000.