-Minister Parag at Region One outreach
More than 1000 persons have so far applied for the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) scholarships being offered by the Government of Guyana.
Minister of Public Service, Hon. Sonia Parag made this disclosure on Wednesday as she wrapped-up the two-day outreach to Barima-Waini (Region One). She was joined by Minister of Housing and Water Hon. Collin Croal during the outreaches at Wauna and Mabaruma.
“I was actually overwhelmed with the turnout that we have had in Matthews Ridge, in Port Kaituma and now here in Mabaruma with the amount of persons who are actually interested in upgrading their educational skills and academics.
We have had a great turnout from Mabaruma, and we have had different age groups which is very applicable to these 20,000 online scholarships initiative that we are doing.”
The Minister said the outreach to the Region is one of several planned to the hinterland to ensure that the people are informed about the scholarships, and that they are given an opportunity to apply.
“This Government pledged to the people of this country leading up to the elections, that they will take care of all the communities in the hinterland.
No one will be left behind and especially, we know that opportunities like this was not something that came to the hinterland and we are correcting that and correcting those who made those mistakes,” she said.
Minister Parag and her team interacted with the applicants and helped them to register for programmes of their choice.
Meanwhile, in his address, Minister Croal urged the residents to capitalise on the opportunity to learn. He noted that obtaining education is one way of reducing the gap that exists between the coastland and the hinterland, and he urged persons to become ambassadors of the initiative so that others could benefit.
“Be part of the People’s Progressive Party Government train, the train that has embarked on a path to raise the level of the education of our people and if you have an educated nation, you will have a wealthier nation,” Minister Croal said.
On Tuesday, Minister Parag and a team comprising GOAL Director, Dr. Jacob Opadeyi, Region One Chairman, Mr. Brentnol Ashley and regional officials, engaged Matthews Ridge residents on the scholarships.
Th Regional Chairman said: “This is just one of the many initiatives that the People’s Progressive Civic (PPP/C) Government will bring to this community and to all the communities across Region One.
One of the pillars that can lead and will lead to prosperity is education because education is the foundation of every given society. When a society needs to be developed and how it could be developed is through grasping and running towards the opportunities that are being provided.”
Several of the perspective scholarship awardees expressed gratitude for the initiative, which was spearheaded by President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali.
In an invited comment, Teacher, Ms. Natalia Rodrigues said, “I think it’s very beneficial to us. We can be here with our family and still we can further our education and also whatever we have learnt we can apply it first-hand to our children.”
Mr. Cononiah Jupiter another scholarship hopeful is also optimistic about the future. “Honestly it’s great, since this corona incident, its gonna help a lot of us and its gonna help Guyanese get into that mode where you can learn and do certain things at home.”
Another Teacher, Ms. Shandel St. Juste is also hopeful about furthering her studies.
“This is one of the best things that can ever happen to my life because I can be home and still get myself qualified so that in the near future, I can be a better person,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ms. Samya Goodman, who is an advocate for vulnerable persons, believes that the initiative will have a positive impact. “I think it’s a great thing because many of the children in Region One have potential. However, the chance is not given to them to do something so many of them, you get a lot of teenage pregnancy. So, as they finish school in their teens for example 16,17 then there is nothing else for them to do and some of them don’t have the finance to go out,” she explained.
Minister Parag said she is very pleased with the Region’s response to the exercise.
“I’m realising how many persons are interested in gaining a tertiary education, and they quite understand what they have to do and there is something in these programmes for everyone.
It is so accessible, it is so accessible, and the Government intends to see this to completion to allow those persons to be able to complete their studies,” she said.
Minister Parag launched the initiative on Friday in Region Six. She was accompanied by First Lady, Mrs. Arya Ali and Minister of Education Hon. Priya Manickchand who provided additional support to persons interested in applying. Cabinet members are fanning out across the country to ensure that all citizens are informed of the scholarships.