-CRSN students call on Government to reconvene the programme
Suspended Charles Roza School of Nursing students are enraged over the decision by the Ministry of Health to suspend the Registered Nursing Programme and Nursing Assistants Programme, is an effort to balance the intake of applicants, to reflect all hinterland regions. The students deemed the excuse as preposterous and believe that good judgement did not prevail, in suspending the programmes, because of an irregularity that is no fault of theirs. “Why should we suffer because they realised they made a mistake. They could have simply corrected it from the next intake, rather than to suspend an entire batch, delay our career and frustrate us into thinking our dreams have been shattered,” one visibly frustrated student expressed to this media house. She along with her colleagues described the excuse as a hurriedly put together one, as part of a damage control mechanism, following wide spread outrage of the suspension.
According to the Ministry of Health’s statement, the Charles Roza School of Nursing in Region 10, is envisioned to train all eligible Guyanese aspiring to become Registered and Nursing Assistants. However, over the years, the school has trained persons mostly from Region 10, while persons from other regions such as 1,7,8 and 9 were given insignificant placements.
A recent evaluation of nursing personnel in all ten of Guyana’s regions show that Region 10 is the lone region with an excess of 233 registered nurses and 106 registered nursing assistants.
The release noted, that all other regions have shortages of trained nurses, and have identified qualified persons for training at the Charles Rosa Nursing School, who were not selected to be a part of the school’s latest intake, Batch 66 and Class 17.
Batch 66 began classes in April 2021 with 34 nursing students; 24 were from Region 10. Meanwhile, Class 17 began classes with 33 nursing assistant students of which 21 were from Region 10.
This statement was released more than two weeks after the students were sent home, without no proper explanation. They reasoned, if this was the definitive reason for suspension, why wasn’t it relayed to them immediately, rather than to increase their anxiety over the issue. “What we are saying, is that we waited since 2018 to start this programme, we have invested so much, why wait until all this investment, all this hope that you have finally landed your dream career to make such a rapid move,” the student said.
With limited job opportunities in Region 10, more so, with the scaling down of bauxite mining, high school graduates would often gravitate to the public sector, for job opportunities. Region 10 has an unemployment rate of over 60 percent. Many high-school graduates would either migrate to seek employment in Georgetown, and those who cannot do so, would either apply to the Teaching Service Commission, the Joint Service’s training schools or the Charles Roza School of Nursing.
One student who applied since 2018, since the move to suspend the programme has brought frustration, anger and sadness to her and her classmates. “I am sitting here, I’m filled with frustration, anger, sadness, disappointment, basically lots of emotions at this point….when we were finally called, we were so happy because we were one step closer to fulfilling our dreams. I’m writing this with tears in my eyes because I invested a lot, we invested a lot, our parents, husbands, wives etc invested a lot of money and time, for it to look like it’s all going to go down the drain,” Deshawna Dest explained.
Regional Officials enraged
The announcement to suspend the programmes and the statement on the reason behind it, have enraged Region 10 officials, who believe that the decision to suspend the programme was a deliberate one. Regional Chairman Deron Adams, in an invited comment, called on the administration to put youth empowerment and development first.
“This administration needs to take its knee off the necks of young people aspiring to take charge of their lives. This government has not supported job creation, they have fired youths at NDMA, dismantled the Bertrum Collins College, cancelled the contract for the dormitory being built for students desirous of studying at LTI and now young people who would have invested thousands of dollars in medical books, nursing gears etc, to do this programme, are the latest victims,” he argued.
The Regional Chairman called on the administration to rethink its position and to reconvene the programme. “We encourage youths to get involved in programmes and stay away from a lifestyle of drugs and crime but when they make a positive step forward you push them two steps backwards……………….governments around the world are magnifying and praising the efforts of front line workers.”
Expressing similar sentiments is Regional Member of Parliament Jermaine Figueira, who also called on the government to restart the programmes. “Restart the nursing programmes and give our young people an opportunity to achieve their dream of becoming a professional health care provider,” he said while expressing disappointment over the justifiable reason for suspending the programme.
“Many young people in Linden who are desirous of furthering their education upon leaving secondary school, opt to either go to LTI, CPCE or the Nursing School, especially those whose parents don’t have the means to send them to the University of Guyana, and those are in the majority. Hence, the reason Region Ten, having the most qualified teachers as per region in the country and the Nursing School always having a greater influx of students from where it is located.
This is a blatant and very pellucid case of discrimination against the people of Linden and Region Ten by the Ministry of Health and by extension the Government of Guyana.
The students being trained at this institution are not being trained to serve Region Ten, they are being trained to serve Guyana,” the Member of Parliament argued.
The Charles Roza School of Nursing has been in existence for 64 years.