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Newly-commissioned $200M school at Tuschen to address overcrowding in Region 3

The Victoria Lily Primary School in Tuschen, Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) was officially commissioned on Tuesday, and aims to address the space constraints schools in the region have long been tackling.
Built for less than $200 million, the new building is expected to accommodate 330 students and includes 12 classrooms, each with Wi-Fi routers, an auditorium, an air-conditioned staff room, principal’s office and sick bay, and a washroom and ramps for students with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

Fire prevention measures have also been considered in the 9000 square feet facility, with each classroom sealed with sheetrock, each door coated with epoxy, and the prevalence of smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
Education Minister Priya Manickchand explained that even prior to the current Government coming into office, overcrowding was a concern for these students.
“So much so that [students] were on shift, which means the children of the school were not getting education like the rest of the country from 08:30h to 15:00h for five days of the week, and that immediately put them at a disadvantage,” Manickchand said.
This overcrowding issue has only exacerbated with the influx of migrants into the region, as over 750 migrant children are now expected to receive placement, Manickchand added.
As such, Guyana is seeing what the Minister referred to as the most massive infrastructure build-out in education thus far.

Newly-commissioned Victoria Lily Primary School

“From about March to August, we had designed, gone out for public tender and broken ground in over seven secondary schools,” Manickchand said.
President Dr Irfaan Ali explained that the Government has embarked on an ambitious plan to build two new facilities in the region by the next school term.
These are a 30,000 square feet school in Crane to accommodate about 1000 students and at 1200 square feet one in Nismes to accommodate about 600 students.
“You will notice that these are all new housing areas so when we build houses and new housing communities, we are also creating demands in other areas like education. Higher levels of education are not achieved without important support services, like roads, drainage, healthcare, nutritional programmes,” Ali said.

Spanish curriculum
Meanwhile, the Victoria Lily Primary School will be one of the first schools to integrate Spanish into its curriculum.

Ali, who delivered his opening remarks in Spanish, noted that new Spanish learners being enrolled in Guyana’s school systems brings not only challenges, but also opportunities for growth.
“So, in this region, particularly, we need to improvise in our education system in a way in which we ensure that the children, many of whom are migrants, are not locked out of the education system because of language barriers and deficiency,” Ali said.
“This community is one of the communities that is now heavily and highly influenced by the influx of the migrant population and the [return] of Guyanese back here. So, for that reason, the structural move to having the integration of Spanish is very, very important,” Ali added. (G13)