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Education Ministry now accuses Cathy Hughes of lying about smart classrooms; says none were completed under coalition

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Alliance for Change (AFC) Vice Chairperson, Catherine Hughes told the nation this afternoon that her party, while in government with A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), established 11 smart classrooms in Guyana between 2015 and July 2020. Her statement was prompted by a Facebook post made by the Education Minister, Priya Manickchand, in which she noted that no such facilities were established since 2014.

Hughes proceeded to list 11 schools, which she claimed, received smart classrooms. Those she pointed out were: Queens’ College, East Ruimveldt Secondary, Leonora Secondary, Skeldon/Line Path Secondary, New Amsterdam Multilateral, President’s College, Brickdam Secondary, Christiansburg Secondary, Bush Lot Secondary, Soesdyke Secondary, and the 8th of May Secondary.

But the Ministry, says that none of the schools Hughes listed has completed smart classrooms.

“That representation is an absolute falsehood that was unnecessary to tell and presents a worrying picture of depths the APNU/AFC is prepared to sink in their desperate bid to re-invent themselves from the inefficient, incapable and uncaring government they were. NOT A SINGLE school listed by Mrs Hughes as being completed under her government has a smart classroom in it except for Queen’s College which this government has installed and commissioned last week with funds provided in Budget 2020,” the Ministry noted.

It added that the Government is in the process of building and setting up 20 smart classrooms across the country to facilitate mass teaching and online teaching as the pandemic rages on.

“We encourage Mrs Hughes to avoid dissembling so blatantly or at all when it comes to dealing with the people’s business and particularly when it comes to children’s education as that can serve no useful purpose,” the Ministry said.

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Sharing my statement from today's press conference! Priya vex! The truth hurts
AFC rejects the misinformation and lies written by Priya Manickchand on her Facebook page
The blatant lies, misinformation and fake news continues to flow from the mouths of persons in the current administration as they attempt to fraudulently rewrite history.
Last week it was visible on the Facebook page of Priya Manickchand – Minister of Education who stated and I quote “2nd smart classroom being commissioned in a public school”. She went on to state in that offending post “Sadly none were done between 2014 to now”.
Nothing could be further from the truth and it is regrettably that the Minister’s total dishonesty has once again come to light. Given the circulation of this fake news I feel compelled to highlight the facts.
Between 2015 and July 2020, the National Data Management Authority, the NDMA in association with the then Ministry of Education opened and operationalized 11 smart classrooms contrary to the current Minister’s statement that none were done. These smart classrooms were located at Queens College (master classroom),
East Rvldt Secondary, Leonora Secondary, Skeldon Linepath Secondary, New Amsterdam Multilateral, President's College,
Brickdam Secondary, Christianburg Secondary, Bush Lot Secondary,
Soesdyke Secondary and the 8th of May Secondary.
As you can see special emphasis was made to ensure that equal representation was given to Guyana’s diverse communities. A simple google search of smart classrooms in Guyana will reveal an interesting chronology of events.
These include November 18, 2017 when the six million smart classroom at NCERD-the first of its kind in the region was launched and reported in a Stabroek News editorial on November 24. Interestingly delegates of the Commonwealth Association of Public Administration and Management in Guyana for their biennial conference visited the solar powered smart classroom on October 23, 2018 and were reported to be impressed.
There is no question that a deep commitment to reduce the digital divide been the hinterland and coastal communities is the mantra of the coalition government.
Additional Smart classrooms were established and reported as launched in the local press in Region 1, region 9 at the Lethem Resource Training Centre, and of course at Kato Secondary which I had the pleasure of attending the opening of. How does one explain the blatant misrepresentation of the facts by Minister Manickchand.
Of deep concern to the AFC is also the deliberate attempt to deny employment opportunities to young Guyanese. This is seen in the ending of contracts of 59 data entry clerks located in Berbice, Linden and Georgetown who started at the Land Registry the important national task of digitizing of government records some dating back to the early 1900’s. The fact that the current administration could not see this as it was intended, as a vital programme that could be expanded to all ministries and maybe, the source of some of the fifty thousand jobs the PPP have promised to create is also mind blowing.
But then we have heard nothing more of the promise to eliminate fees at UG which should have commenced this year.
As former Minister of Public Telecommunications I am proud of the achievements- never done before in Guyana’s history.
Over 120 Ministries were connected with secured internet though an e-Government network, which was established long before 2015 but never put into operation. With this network in place, we connected over 158 primary schools, 105 secondary schools, 30 technical and vocational institutions, opened 173 information communication technology (ICT) hubs, provided free internet to Regional Democratic Council (RDC) and Neighborhood Democratic Council (NDCs) offices, internet to over 72 hinterland communities, 11 fully equipped smart classrooms and a few smart hospitals across our hinterland regions. Not to forget the safe city solution with cameras, connectivity at markets, police and fire stations.
The National Data Management Authority was the engine that steered this thrust which was designed to provide more government services on line, making access to information and education easier, more transparent and efficient for citizens. One cannot comprehend how this administration would choose to close the regional offices of Community development and social management division which kept this vital infrastructure in working order.
The current covid 19 pandemic has highlighted just how important the infrastructure the APNUAFC left in place is. The fact that this Government has paid scant attention to it for the benefit of ordinary Guyanese is unacceptable.
Last edited by Django

Manickchand strikes me as being maniacal.  When I first saw her FB post I knew she was wrong.  Moreover, it was a very badly written post, full of grammatical errors.  I am happy that Ms. Hughes has responded. 

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