The opportunities and possibilities of the Government of Guyana’s 20,000 Scholarship Programme were introduced to Region Five today at the Novar Primary School and the Lachmansingh Primary School on the West Coast of Berbice.
The Honourable Minister of Education Priya Manickchand and Member of Parliament Mr. Faizal Jaffarally led community outreaches at the two locations to encourage persons to apply and to facilitate that application process with their team.
Minister Manickchand in her inspirational remarks told residents that education is invaluable and can serve repeatedly, those who take the opportunity to improve themselves academically. She said that education allows persons to be independent and as such, it is immeasurable.
She said that the idea to offer 20,000 online scholarships to Guyanese was birthed as a manifesto promise by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic during the 2020 election campaign. She said that consultations were done to know what it is that citizens wanted as it relates to educational opportunities.
She said, “You said to us that you wanted opportunities to learn at your own pace without having to physically attend an institution. We said that we will provide 20,000 opportunities for ordinary Guyanese citizens who would not have to pay for it themselves. So that is why we are here today. We are here today because we made a promise to you and to fulfil that promise.”
Minister Manickchand said that her Government is committed to serving all Guyanese and that this opportunity is available for all interested Guyanese to benefit. “We will serve every citizen in Region Five regardless of how persons voted, pray, worship or if you don’t at all, regardless of whether your parents can read and write,” Minister Manickchand noted.
The Education Minister added that she is happy that the scholarship programme which is being managed by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Public Service through the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) is offering programmes at many levels.
She said that on the list of over 80 programmes, persons can apply to do courses to earn a Certificate, a Bachelor’s Degree, a Post Graduate Diploma, a Master’s Degree or a PhD. She explained that programmes range from three years to six months duration and that each programme has different entry eligibility criteria that have to be met.
Further, she said that though there are several similar outreaches to be held across Guyana by herself and other Ministers of Government, Minister Manickchand urged that Guyanese do not have to wait on those events to apply for a programme. She said that persons can visit the GOAL website at www.goal.edu.gy.
She also explained that persons who did not obtain their Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) or failed a subject can still become eligible for a degree programme by first completing the Bachelor’s Preparatory Programme (BPP) that is being offered.
Moreover, addressing the issue of the scholarship which will be awarded by the Ministry of Public Service, Minister Manickchand said that persons who will be awarded scholarships under this specific programme will not be bound to the Government of Guyana upon completion.
She said that awardees will be asked to give voluntary service to the country by working either with the government, their Neighbourhood Democratic Councils, in the private sector, with a non-governmental organization, the legal aid clinic or the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association among other entities. She said, “We hope that out of this programme the spirit of volunteerism is boosted.”
During today’s outreach, several persons submitted their applications resulting in the most successful day for an on the spot application exercise.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament Mr. Faizal Jaffarally said that he welcomes the initiative being brought to his region and committed the region’s support to ensure that the scholarship programme is a success.
Speaking on the education sector, he said that the Government of Guyana is not only building modern buildings but also ensuring that the development of teachers is taking place to enable them to deliver quality education.
He said, “This is a promise made by His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali. With the guidance of Minister Manickchand, we will ensure that at all times our people are educated.” Regional Chairman Mr. Vickchand Ramphal echoed similar sentiments and urged residents to seize the opportunity to ensure they can continue to pursue academic development and educate themselves to enjoy a better life.
Vice-Chairman of the region, Mr. Rion Peters also urged residents to make full use of the opportunity being given to them. Presently, five universities are offering programmes through GOAL. These are the University of the West Indies Open Campus, the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC), the University of Applied Sciences (IUBH), the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and the JAIN “Deemed To Be” University.