The UNC strongly condemns the Keith Rowley Government for the backward and atrocious textbook distribution policy as announced by the Minister of Education on a television talk show yesterday. The Minister justified this retrograde move by saying that the Government set to save $119 million by denying textbooks to schoolchildren.
The actions of the Rowley regime since forming government has targeted the lower income groups. While the PP Government sought to level the educational playing field, the PNM has returned to creating an elitist system which will exacerbate the struggles of the poor and make education primarily accessible to those who can afford it.
The party notes with concern that the last PNM administration chose to build luxury hotels and other vanity projects instead of the promised amount of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). The children of Biche were left to suffer while the vindictive PNM government refused to open their school. Scholarships were secretly given to their friends and family. Now they are returning to the discrimination of the past.
The UNC also wishes to point out that, the education system significantly developed and evolved under the Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar during her tenure as Minister of Education and later as Prime Minister, because the UNC made universal learning a top priority; and is appalled by the negligible precedence given to education by the Rowley Administration.
It is a serious indictment on the Rowley-led Government that this measure comes at a time when the ability of parents and guardians to purchase text books would be constrained due to the rise in the cost of living triggered by PNM government actions, namely the fuel-price increase, re-introduction of VAT and the looming Property Tax.
The Government claims that they have no money to pay for our children’s education, yet they elect to purchase million-dollar paintings and talk about accessing loans to fund pet vanity projects, the burden of which would have to be borne in the future by the same young generation which they now currently victimise.
The UNC notes that within one year of the People’s Partnership government being in office and giving laptops to school children, this county jumped sixteen places in ratings on World Economic Forum Global Information Technology Index going from 79 in 2010 to 63 in 2011, however the nation is yet to get a definitive update as to the future of the laptop computer programme for students.
The party affirms that the nation’s children are our most precious assets yet the Rowley Administration has, after only three months of governance, deprived our youth of the laptop computer programme, and access to the Commonwealth Scholarships, the Children’s Life Fund and the Couva Children’s Hospital.
The facilitation of a child’s ability to learn is absolutely necessary therefore the UNC demands that the Rowley Government reverse this decision immediately so that the students would receive their textbooks. The Government can reprioritise and make their budget cuts elsewhere, since they have already taken enough from our children.