MINISTER of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd, on Saturday, told Essequibians that the Government of Guyana’s 20,000 online scholarship programme will ensure that the nation has a skilled and educated workforce as new industries emerge.
Minister Todd was speaking to scores of young people of Johanna Cecilia and surrounding communities, who attended the launch of the initiative at the Johanna Cecilia Secondary School, Essequibo Coast, Region Two.
He was accompanied by Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Public Service, James Cole, and Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) representative, O’Neil Greaves.
The minister said the initiative, which was spearheaded by President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, would also allow people to be able to compete, and secure prime jobs and other opportunities in the new job market.
“Our attractiveness based on our oil and gas … potential is going to bring scores of people to Guyana and we want to be able to give you the first opportunity because this is your country. We want to give you the opportunity to be at the head of the… job market,” he said.
Minister Todd said the People’s Progressive Party/Civic has always had a vested interest in educating Guyanese, from the primary to tertiary levels.
In keeping with this, the government, prior to 2015, had accomplished universal primary education and is now working to achieve universal secondary education.
The scholarships will ensure citizens across the country have access to tertiary education. Some 4,500 are to be awarded this year.
The Minister said the initiative is a realisation of a promise made by President Ali during the PPP/C campaign leading up to the March 2020 elections.
“We had a very goal-oriented and results-driven manifesto. Among the many other initiatives, we made it clear in our manifesto that we are going to focus on tertiary level education…. We did promise also that we are going to bring the government to the people, so every time we have an initiative rolling out, we are going to bring it to the community,” he told the residents.
The programme is being rolled out through a partnership between the Ministries of Education and Public Service and administered by the GOAL. Persons would be able to earn a Bachelor’s Degree, a Post-Graduate Diploma, a Master’s Degree or a PhD.
Several youths took the opportunity to register for the programmes during the outreach. Chris Raphael, a teacher who hails from the Amerindian community of Mashabo, applied for the Certificate in Primary Teaching. He praised the government for launching an initiative that would allow him to become qualified in the field of teaching. “An opportunity like this is well accepted and I will make much as I can from it,” he said.
Shomayne Edwards, of Onderneeming, said she would be pursuing a course in information technology since she has always had in interest in that field. The 18-year-old, who just completed her CSEC examination, said that after completing that programme she will move on to study law. She is urging other young people to make full use of the opportunity to further their education.
Guyanese can apply to pursue any of the 85 programmes, which are being offered from five internationally recognised universities. 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.