Region 10 Education Department collaborates with RDC to tackle issues
Regional Education Officer (REdO) Rabindra SinghRegional Education Officer (REdO) Rabindra Singh of the Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) Education Department has sought the assistance of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) in solving a number of issues affecting the Department.Given the opportunity by Region 10 Chairman Renis Morian to share the concerns of that Department at a recent statutory meeting, Singh pointed to a number of issues he would like to see resolved.The Council and the Department work in close collaboration to oversee the educational affairs of Region 10. According to Singh, staffing for schools’ dormitories in the Region is a sore point for the Department.“Sometimes things are done and I’m the last person to know. So I think we need to communicate more. Secondly, and I think this is a countrywide problem, we are unable to source staff for our dormitories… Maybe because of the qualifications and the salaries they’re offering. It is not motivating at all for people to apply, and the children are suffering. We’re operating our dormitories by the grace of God, and we had to be calling on people to do extra duties,” Singh explained.The REdO also pointed to a lack of finances to purchase furniture to furnish teachers’ quarters. He said that, as a result, four quarters were yet to be furnished, including those at Calcuni and Sand Hills.“… we are very financially unstable when it comes to getting furnishings for our teachers’ quarters. It has not been featured in the budget, and monies have not been given for the purchasing of furniture for our department. And so you find that teachers would keep complaining. Councillors would come with a lot of information, but then there is little we can do as a Region because the finance is not there…,” Singh explained.He added that the Department had created a list of items needed, but it would take some time for them to be acquired. In the meantime, he said, the Department still has to find a way to secure furnishings for its teachers’ quarters.“In terms of our vacancies at the Department, I don’t know how quickly we can work with that with the Public Service Ministry, and that is an important problem, because we don’t have the human resource…,” Singh noted.Education Committee Chairperson Denise Belgrave said a number of recommendations had been made by the Council relative to the issue, and she urged the Council to put those recommendations in place.Councillor Charles Sampson said what was noted about the teachers’ quarters was “unacceptable”, and he asked who was responsible for highlighting or reporting the issue regarding the absence of furniture.“This question of you ain’t budget is unacceptable. If you don’t have furniture, then you upsetting the education system… People got to start planning on more detail so that these things can be addressed, and addressed in a timely manner,” the Councillor said.Councillor Tracey Johnson also noted that the REdO was facing an unfair situation. He pointed out that an internal auditor or stock verifier should be able to give an account of furnishings.However, the Regional Chairman noted that, in all fairness to the REdO, he was not assigned to the Region during the planning stages of the budget.Morian said it was his hope that the issue would be addressed at the ‘finance meeting’, and a solution was found so that the quarters could be furnished.In the past, the RDC and the Education Department had had several clashes, but the Regional Chairman stated that the Department should at no time feel that the Council was against it, and he assured members of the Department that there was no war between the two bodies.“We want to work in close harmony with the Department of Education. Where you’re finding difficulties, together as a Council, we could work collectively to solve these problems,” Morian said.