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The recent release of the 2022 CSEC Math results for Hinterland and Riverine students in Guyana by Attorney Nigel Hughes, has shed an unforgiving light on the stark inequities of our education system, a system that has been festering under the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) governance for over two decades. The figures are not just numbers; they are a damning indictment of systemic failure, a betrayal of the country’s indigenous youth whose potential is being squandered in an oil-rich nation poised for prosperity.
The distressing data, brought to light by Attorney Nigel Hughes, shows a harrowing zero percent achieving a Grade 1, and only 17 percent managing a pass between Grades 1 to 3. Such abysmal results don’t merely point to a bad year but to chronic neglect that has left entire communities on the margins of the educational landscape.
In a country where education is the cornerstone of individual and collective progress, these results should have sparked a national outcry, a rigorous re-evaluation of our educational strategies, and a swift, coordinated action plan. Instead, the response from the Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, was a ‘feral blast’ of defensive rhetoric, laced with personal attacks that do nothing to address the heart of the issue.
Mr. Hughes, in highlighting these distressing results, did not mince words about the dire implications for the indigenous communities. His demand for disaggregated data is not an academic exercise; it’s a clarion call for transparency and accountability, an essential first step towards addressing educational disparities. Yet, the Minister’s response was dismissive, politicizing, and utterly devoid of the gravitas the situation demands.
The PPP has had ample time to address these deep-seated issues, and yet, here we are, with the largest budgets in the nation’s history, and still, the students of the Hinterland and Riverine areas are left grappling for a semblance of educational equity. The citizenry’s exasperation is palpable and justified. It’s not enough to deflect to the shortcomings of a past administration when the current government has had years to make amends and has failed to do so.
An appropriate response would have been one of humility and urgency—an acknowledgment of the government’s oversight and a detailed plan of action to rectify the systemic neglect. It would involve immediate resource allocation, infrastructural development, and teacher training, tailored to the unique challenges of these communities.
The Minister’s disparaging comments stand in stark contrast to the reality faced by indigenous students. A future built on the foundations of education cannot be laid with bricks of contempt. We call for a decisive break from this pattern of blame and evasion. It’s time for the PPP to step up and deliver, to transform these appalling statistics into a story of hope and progress.
We stand in solidarity with the Hinterland and Riverine communities. Their fight for educational justice is our fight, and we will not stand silent as the future of our nation’s children is negotiated away in the hollow halls of political gamesmanship. The time for excuses is over. It’s time to fix it, and if the current government cannot, they must seek help. The future of Guyana’s indigenous people and, indeed, the future of our nation, demands nothing less.