More than 500 scholarships issued by Gov’t in 2 years – Harmon

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Over the past two years, more than 500 scholarships were awarded to students to upgrade their education.  This is according to Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.

Harmon was at the time addressing an event organised by the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) for young people in the public service sector in observance of International Youth Day 2017. International Youth Day was observed under the theme, “Youth Building Peace.”

A statement from the Ministry of the Presidency quoted the State Minister as saying his administration has made significant investments in equipping the younger population, “Quietly and without much fanfare.”

“Over the period 2015 to 2017, we have invested and sent on scholarships abroad, 53 young Guyanese in places like the United Kingdom, China, Japan. About 540 young people have gone to local institutions over this period. We are on the cusp of changes that will take place in this country and it makes no sense putting persons in positions and you do not offer them any training so while we are the current stewards of the national patrimony, we will prepare the ground work,” the release quoted.

Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon (centre) and Ms. Dawn Gardener, Vice President of the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) with the attendees at the event

Harmon said his administration recognizes that it is their responsibility to provide the good life for young people and to prepare them for positions of authority, in which they can effect change, noting that “our youths for over 23 years up to 2015 were the forgotten majority.”

“Additionally, on a weekly basis, we invest in our young people, sending them on short courses abroad so that they become acquainted with international best practices so that we are no longer left back. So as we celebrate I say that the Government of Guyana will continue to support youth development in all of its manifestations,” Minister Harmon said.

In December 2016, a list of 38 persons on fully Government funded scholarships was revealed to the National Assembly. Among the beneficiaries are Ministers within the Ministry of Education and Public Infrastructure, Nicolette Henry and Annette Ferguson. According to the list Minister Henry is pursuing a Phd in Public Health in the United States which in its first year raked up a sum of $3,339,460, while Minister Ferguson is said to be in the second year of her scholarship; Public Policy Management, which is being done in the United Kingdom. Her overall cost at that point was listed as $3, 382,300.

Also on the list is the daughter of Minister of Education, Alicia Roopnaraine who is also pursuing studies in Psychology in the U.K. to the tune of over $2.5M, Former Chief Education Officer, Olato Sam and Director on the Board of the Guyana National Newspapers Limited, Tabitha Sarabo-Halley.

There is also a number of scholarships for undergraduate studies, among which is former Queen’s College (QC) student Elisa Hamilton who topped the 2014 Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) exams and Cecil Cox who emerged as the top Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) student.

Harmon at the event sounded a call for youths to become organised as it is up to the young people to take advantage of the opportunities which are presented.

“Various organisations and groups have also received tangible support from Government to improve physical facilities and promote the development of our young people. I also wish to take this opportunity to encourage our unorganised youth to  get involved in organised activities as it is through these bodies that you can get the full benefits of partnership with the state, for your own development,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ms. Nadeila Allen, a Public Relations Assistant attached to the Parliament Office, in a brief presentation, said that youths are important in any country. She noted that the necessary investments must be made to improve their lives as they have skills, talents and knowledge, which can positively impact the country.

Ms. Dawn Gardener, Vice President, GPSU said that the event was organised with the sole aim of recognising the young people who are part of the engine of the public service sector.

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