President David Granger on Monday officially declared opened the dorms to house 120 students from hinterland communities who are pursuing their tertiary education in Georgetown.
The building was constructed at Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown at a cost of $186M. The dorm is part of the Government’s aim to bridge the gap between the hinterland and the coastland.
The housing facility includes apartments that will accommodate four persons. Each apartment has a dining room and bathrooms and the students will be preparing their own meals.
In his feature address, the President said he aims to create a more equal society to ensure that hinterland residents can enjoy similar public services as those on the coastland.
“This country has to reduce the disparities in education between the coastland and the hinterland if it is to become a more equal and more prosperous society, education is the single most important factor which will have the greatest impact on hinterland development,” the President said.
The President said the education development of the hinterland communities will assist in the reduction of poverty, reverse hinterland unemployment and reduce hinterland migration especially to countries like Brazil.
He noted that the educational performances of hinterland students can be measured by their results of the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) and Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations results.
“Education is a great equaliser. It is the key to unlocking increased economic opportunities for citizens,” the President said.
Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe said it was difficult to find living accommodation in Georgetown in the past and some students even had to quit their studies because of this.
Before the construction of the dormitory, the students were being housed at the Amerindian Hostel on Princes Street, Georgetown.
‘This is not just a building; it is a vessel an opening that will allow for the economic and social transformation of indigenous communities by the indigenous and hinterland people across Guyana,” Minister Garrido-Lowe said.
She said the Government needs to nurture and develop professions that will push the Green State Development Strategy into action.
“We recognize that our communities need more input and expertise, we need more educators, health workers, civil engineers, geologist, anthropologist, professional agriculturist, food scientist and business people,” Minister Garrido-Lowe said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs and Vice President, Sydney Allicock the facility is only one of the many institutions to help in the development of Education for hinterland students.
Minister Allicock also said that there is a need for more technical persons in agriculture and other sectors.
“We already have a lot of politicians and lawyers, every day we hearing cases trying and the politicians…when we are done we are hungry because we forget to plant and we don’t have agriculturalist any longer,” Minister Allicock said.
The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs increased the number of hinterland scholarships from 120 to 186 over the past four years, while some 1, 599 hinterland students received scholarships at the tertiary level.