…says Govt doing more harm than goodAs the People’s Progressive Party continues to roll out its manifesto ahead of next year’s General and Regional Elections, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has revealed a “three primary objective” strategy for the country’s education sector.Opposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoJagdeo said at his weekly press conference that these three objectives are: to have universal access at every level from nursery to university; to improve quality at every level, and preparing young people for the labour market.The intention, he noted, is to reorient the programmes at the tertiary and technical vocational level so that Guyanese will be fully prepared when they venture out into the job market.Jagdeo, who is also the PPP’s General Secretary, said that the party believes that these should not be the only changes in the education sector.“We have to improve facilities across Guyana, we have to offer incentives to teachers and opportunities for training and skill development,” he asserted.Further, the Opposition Leader reminded of PPP’s intention of offering 20,000 online scholarships. He noted that this project is intended to significantly expand across Guyana, also benefiting hinterland students.Jagdeo said that education should also be affordable for everyone. On the note of supporting affordable education, the party also believes that no child should have to purchase textbooks.The Opposition Leader stressed that the State should be tasked with the responsibility of purchasing textbooks for children.Concerning the private education sector, he indicated that corporate taxes would be removed from those institutions.“For private education at all levels, from nursery to university, the plan is to remove the corporate taxes so that they would not have to pay corporate tax,” he noted, reminding that it was the APNU/AFC Government that imposed a 14 per cent Valued Added Tax (VAT) on education.He recalled that it was only after mounting pressure that the tax, which trickled down to parents, was removed.To this end, Jagdeo contended that the coalition has been doing more harm than good.“They started off by, you would recall, removing the [$10,000 ‘Because We Care’] grants from the school kids, which by now, would have put eight billion dollars in the pockets of the parents or these children,” he noted.In fact, the Opposition Leader related that President David Granger has replaced the grant with his “Five Bs” initiative (boats, buses, bicycles, breakfast, and books), which has resulted in them spending more for the maintenance of buses than the actual cost of the buses.“Look at the Auditor General’s report, we have spent $20 million on maintenance of one of these buses, and more than the cost of the bus, millions of dollars”, he stated, adding “That could never replace the eight billion dollars that you took away from the school kids”.Moreover, he indicated that President Granger has also failed in fulfilling the promise to provide jobs for students one year after graduating from the University of Guyana (UG).“He failed on the fees of university education that increased by 35 per cent. The nutrition programme has not been extended; in fact, it has been cut back in many areas. The school uniform [vouchers] for students, many hinterland people didn’t get it,” Jagdeo pointed out.Against this backdrop, the Opposition Leader noted that President Granger’s touted position that the education sector has improved under his Administration is far-fetched.“It has contradicted this view that he still believes, he is the only one who believes it, that he is pushing education, or education is a priority of his Government,” Jagdeo said.