Education Minister Priya Manickchand on Friday disclosed that 31,438 persons have so far signed up for free online learning courses through the Ministry. The courses are being offered on Coursera through a partnership with the Commonwealth of Learning to facilitate educational opportunities during the pandemic.
According to the Minister, the invitation to join the partnership was extended to Guyana since April of 2020 and a reminder was sent in July but was never accepted by the then APNU+AFC administration.
“Do you know when Guyana received the invitation to get on this program? At the end of April. Ministers were too busy trying to steal power, too busy trying to foist themselves on this country to serve the people. They were reminded again in July and they did nothing to get this to the people of Guyana,” Minister Manickchand told the National Assembly.
She disclosed that of the 31,438 persons who signed up for the program, 12,992 are below the age of 25 while 11,087 are between 25 and 35 years old.
“Our young people were starved for training and when we opened it up, 31,000 of them joined.”
The courses on Coursera were always free but the Ministry is now covering the cost for the certificates.
Giving a regional breakdown, Manickchand said 307 persons have so far registered from Region One, 162 from Region Two, 4,699 from Region Three, 18,592 in Region Four, 1,531 in Region Five, 2,918 in Region Six, 303 in Region Seven, 65 in Region Eight and 278 in Region Nine while 19 persons in Region Ten have already received their certificates.
She promised that efforts will be made to ensure that students in the hinterland can get access to internet connection and devices.
Additionally, the Ministry has commenced a teachers’ training program to make it easier for them to conduct virtual sessions.
“It is important for us to train our teachers so that we can give them more confidence, more tools and a sense of pride in what they do because teachers want to be more effective,” Manickchand said.
According to the Education Minister, 5,034 teachers have so far signed up.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic which restricts in-person learning, the Ministry has invested $200M in upgrading the Guyana Learning Channel.
The Ministry is also expected to launch its own radio station to provide 24hrs educational materials.