Budget Debates: Manickchand, McDonald clash over need for new schools


Education Minister Priya Manickchand and the newly-assigned shadow Opposition Parliamentarian for Education, Coretta McDonald clashed on Monday over the need for new schools across Guyana.

The Parliamentarians spoke during the first day of the 2024 National Budget Debate in the National Assembly at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Liliendaal, Georgetown.

Both women are keenly interested and involved with the education sector, with Manickchand at the helm of the ministry and McDonald serving as the General Secretary of the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU).

But a matter that saw heated debate between the two was the construction of new schools.

At least seven new schools were built by the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) government since returning to office in 2020. On the other hand, Manickchand previously noted that no school was started and completed by the APNU AFC coalition while in government from 2015 to 2020.

Some $28.7 billion has been set aside in this year’s budget for the construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of schools across the country.

According to McDonald, the former APNU- AFC administration did not spend money on new schools because there weren’t as many fires as there are now. She accused the government of playing some part in the destruction of schools so that new contracts can be distributed.

Manickchand, however, rejected these comments.

She posited that it was disrespectful for McDonald to make such comments, knowing that there are children across the country who are not comfortably accommodated in schools close to their homes.

But she said regardless of what the opposition says, the government is unapologetic about investing heavy sums for the construction of new schools.

“Every child in this country will be able to access education under the PPP/C government.

“… In addition to building schools and training teachers, we are going to change quality,” she said.

Manickchand also said that this year’s $135.2 billion allocation for the education sector this year will also cater for meals to learners, textbooks and grants to schools.

1 Comment
  1. Tony Beharry says

    The PNC was the one who are responsibility for most of the fires after the election, to destabilised the PPP government .

    Are you really saying that the government is setting fires on schools , this is a serious matter, you should take the government to court .

    Otherwise shut your mouth and stop peddling false news.

    You remember the election riggers the PNC mo fia, slow fire 🔥. This is how you want nation building , stop divisive politics and let’s have one Guyana 🇬🇾 for the future generation .

    You cannot win government by racist politics.

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