It gives me great pleasure to be given an opportunity to lend my expertise in executing such an excellent initiative. The United Nations SDG 4 recognizes and reflects that education plays an instrumental/pivotal role in advancing socio economic mobility. Educating and empowering people are absolutely necessary if we are to see any kind of meaningful development.
I want to firstly, applaud H.E the President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the Government of Guyana for undertaking this much needed platform for students to be able access further educational opportunities. The process started with Negotiating with Universities for courses that fit/ correspond to Guyana’s developmental needs. Emanating from this, a number of programmes at the Certificate, Bachelors, Post Graduate and Master’s Degree Levels will be offered with Doctorial Program coming soon. These are from a range of cross cutting sectors including engineering, psychology, nursing, education, aviation, robotics, finance and accounting, tourism etc. A list of the programmes offered will be available on the Academy’s website. For Students who cannot afford or are from hinterland regions, the Academy will allow for an opportunity to accessing higher level education across Guyana and fulfilling their dreams. Therefore programs such as natural resources management, arts and crafts, small business entrepreneurship, and ecotourism will no doubt provide much needed resources and contribute to the development of the hinterland, rive rain and outlying communities. For most hinterland regions, their cultural identity is inherently linked/tied to not only their values, but also their livelihoods which is many cases is dependent primarily on the sustainable use of natural resources. These programs will fulfill the dreams of students in the hinterland by making them a reality and this Government has made a commitment to all the people of Guyana.
Tertiary educational opportunities for students in outlying hinterland and riverine communities has been lacking over the years as the facilities are concentrated on the coast. The Academy therefore is an attempt to stymy / alleviate this and to minimize some of the challenges which are compounded by distance. These challenges are exacerbated by the lack of access of technology such as internet services in many of these communities. The creation of Study Centers augmented by provision of materials will assist students in these areas to successfully complete programs.
Students Affairs and Well Being is an imperative tenet of an educational experience. As such the GOAL is designed to meet these needs by providing much needed support as necessary in order for students to successfully complete these programmes. Other components of the Academy will also be inclusive of: Academic Affairs, Enrollment and Study Centers and Learning Materials. The Academy will be monitoring the progress of student’s performance through assessments and intervening as needed. To supplement/ add to the versatility of the programmes and to correspond with the needs of the population a range of technical and vocational courses will also be offered in an attempt to advance our effort to have 4,500 students over the course of a year.
I wish to echo the sentiments of H.E. the President and also the Minister of Education and state that the onus will be on students and I thereby encourage and implore Guyanese to tap into these opportunities which are available.
– Dr. Jacob Opadeyi – Director of GOAL