In Guyana, not all children have access to school

In Guyana, not all children will be able to go to school at the beginning of the school year. In this section, where one in three residents is subject to compulsory education, the construction of new establishments is struggling to keep up with population growth.

This Monday, 89,000 students will return to primary and secondary education. But many do not have access to education. A “real phenomenon but difficult to treat without precise figures“, analyzes the rector of the department, Philippe Dulbecco, “we have big problems with him because we don’t know him well enough”.

According to the Court of Auditors, 10,000 young people were out of school in 2020 due to the lack of places in the area’s facilities and network. At the last INSEE census in 2017, more than 84,000 foreigners were present on Guyanese soil out of 252,338 inhabitants, or a third of the population. Today, the population is estimated at 300,000 inhabitants.

In urban centers the proportion of allophone pupils in some schools can be as high as 80%“, the Court estimated. Students who absolutely need an education to learn French. The demographic vitality of Guyana (the birth rate there has reached 26.4 per 1,000 inhabitants, compared to 11.1 in France) between 2009 and 2019.

Result, the filling percentage exceeded 100%”in almost all branchesnotes Annie Robinson-Chocho, the Vice President of the Territorial Community of Guyana in charge of Education.There is a bottleneck at the school entrance. All town halls have waiting listsassures Florent Hennion, the academic secretary of the Snes-FSU.But this problem also affects the second degree.

In 2019, Guyana had 169 schools and 44 public colleges and secondary schools. Insufficient for Florent Hennion, while “each year 3% more students need to be educated” and 4.7% in the west of the department. “In Saint-Laurent, the largest town in the Maroni basin, a primary school is built every eighteen months. The lectures have no time to be called and are called with numbers: lecture 1, 2…”he says.

Another problem, “students are trained where there is space, not necessarily in their sector determined by the school map. Except you need the means to take the bus. And many families don’t have them“explains Pascal Briquet, Secretary General of Unsa. The situation has worsened for the inhabitants of isolated municipalities in the interior. After the first grade, the students have to leave their village to study, most of the time back to the coast.

The problems of remoteness from the family, transport, housing, catering, territorial trespass contribute greatly to early school leaving., admits Annie Robinson-Chocho. “The creation of new branches in remote municipalities, such as the Saint-Georges school complex, will allow us to reduce this phenomenon.she adds.

The opening of the college high school in this city in eastern Guyana, scheduled for this start of the school year, has been postponed to 2023. Four secondary schools and three colleges are also under construction in Guyana. By 2025 there will be 5,320 places in the second degree, the municipality foresees, for an investment of 470 million euros.

However, due in part to the commitments enshrined in the Guyana Agreement signed after the March-April 2017 social movements, these projects are slowly taking off. “These branches will already be too small once they open. We are already losing the race against demographics”, startled Florent Hennion. “Meanwhile we do temporary things, we push the walls“, adds Pascal Briquet.
Just before the start of the 2022 school year”,During the summer, 40 additional classes in the second degree were opened, i.e. more than 500 places”, appoints Rector Philippe Dulbecco. Thanks to the transformation of a building into a secondary school and the rental of prefab construction sites.

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