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Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo recently announced the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration, that took away the constitutional right to free education, is having a change of heart.
Article 27 in the Constitution of Guyana enshrines that “Every citizen has the right to free education from nursery to university as well as at non -formal places where opportunities are provided for education and training.”
Addressing a gathering at the launch of government’s part-time jobs Initiative at the Diamond Secondary School on Friday, Jagdeo said the PPP “promised free education in our manifesto, free university education in the five years. So… before the end of the five years, UG will become free.”
Last month the AFC in a statement said “We have the money which belongs to the people and must be spent for their benefits and not for the few friends and families of the Government.
“It is indisputable that education is the foundation of the successful development of any country, and the number one investment attractiveness of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). Guyana’s oil may only last for about 20 to 25 years more, so investment in education must be the highest priority RIGHT NOW! (NOT 2025) to attract those FDIs for a sustainable economy after oil is gone.”
Further, the party had called on “the PPPC Government to make education free from nursery through university, RIGHT NOW! Not 2025.”
Veteran trade unionist Lincoln Lewis said, a right is a right and no person or government gets to decide when to take away that right. ” From the inception, it was wrong for the PPP to deny the right to free university education when the constitution explicitly ensures it.” Going further, Lewis said student’s debts must be written off for those who took loans to pursue an education at the University of Guyana, and those who paid must be reimbursed.
Last August, the Office of the Leader of the Opposition at a press conference in lashing out at the government’s failure, yet another year to commit to its promise to free university education, said the “decision to take away free tertiary education still weighs students down” and has called for education to be made free immediately.
The coalition also reiterated their “call for student stipends to help with internet, transportation and other expenses that do not appear on any University invoice, but are expenses students must bear, nonetheless.”