Budget 2021 posits that “to develop a world-class education system, we intend to ensure equal access to quality education, at all levels, for all children, regardless of their background, to increase and improve the quality and quantity of trained teachers, learning resources and materials, and to increase the use of innovation and technology in order to improve education delivery and learning outcomes.”
Education is the pillar through which Guyanese can improve their lives and a vehicle towards ensuring that the future we shape for our children is a bright one. The education sector must be adjusted to suit the needs of Guyana and also new modalities for the delivery of education in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In conjunction with providing 20,000 scholarships, the Ministry of Education is also hoping to provide free education at the University of Guyana by the end of 2024. Parallel to these, our 2021 Budget, made provisions for doubling the uniform allowance and increasing, by 50%, the cash grant per student from $10,000 to $15,000 and we are committed to increasing this by almost 300% in the coming years where each child in the school system will benefit from a $50,000 cash grant.
The GOAL fills a crucial gap which previously existed in students across the length and breadth of our beautiful nation having access to tertiary education. As alluded to by His Excellency, the GOAL will also liaison with other Ministries and Regional Bodies as necessary to develop student centers across all administrative regions so that students without internet access will be able to engage in online learning. This initiative resounds well with our principles as a Government to provide access to free education for our citizens and to help them hone their skills and tap into their ingenuity.
The priority of the Government is to provide opportunities for persons across the length and breadth of Guyana. Delivering education has changed dramatically since the COVID pandemic and online courses and E-learning opportunities have replaced classrooms. In light of virtual learning, GOAL contributes to fulfilling teaching on remote and virtual platforms .Parallel to this, the sector has moved to implement blended modalities to ensure learning continuity for all students, including a revamped Guyana Learning Channel Trust, benefitting over 130,000 students and the distribution of printed worksheets and other materials to over 41,000 students in the hinterland, riverine and disadvantaged coastal areas. Additionally, almost 4,000 teachers were trained in the integration of innovation and ICT into their teaching-learning process via the Profuturo online platform.
With the launch of GOAL, it is evident that our Government is serious about Education and that we are committed to ensuring that our people have equal access to quality education. It is even more evident during the midst of a pandemic that an educational sector that is dynamic and versatile is the way forward.