Minister Parag takes 20,000 online scholarship initiative to Berbice

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Residents in several East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six) communities on Friday welcomed Minister of Public Service, Sonia Parag who traveled to the area to officially roll out the 20,000 online scholarship initiative.

Minister Parag and a team, which included several regional officials, traveled to New Amsterdam, Williamsburg/Rose Hall and Number 63 Village to encourage residents to capitalise on the opportunity to advance their education. The public would be able to access the scholarships over the next five years.

During her engagements with residents, the Minister said the initiative is the brainchild of President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali and Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo who are both aware of the challenges people in different parts of the country had accessing tertiary education.

She said the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has always prioritised education and has made strides since gaining office in 1992.

“That could have been determined from the incentives that went up in attendance, and passes in secondary schools as prior to 1992, we did not have that.”

Friday’s activity marks the beginning of the fulfillment of a manifesto promise made by the PPP/C Administration, just nine months after taking office.

Minister of Public Service, Sonia Parag interacts with an applicant

“We recognise that we need a brighter future. We recognise that we need to give education equally to our Guyanese, not just a category of Guyanese who are able to get it, but those of you who cannot even connect to the internet.

We are going to provide that service to you so that you are able to conveniently attain or achieve that higher education,” Minister Parag said.

Residents had turned out in their numbers at the named locations to find out how they could benefit.

Meanwhile, Minister Parag said the courses are being offered to persons who have completed secondary school. There is no age limit and provisions have been made for early school leavers.

Individuals who do not meet the scholarship requirements can complete six months of a Bachelor Preparatory Programme, and on successful completion, they would be eligible to pursue scholarships for Bachelor’s degrees.

The scholarships are available for persons interested in pursuing Certificates, and Diplomas, Bachelor’s Degrees, Post Graduate Degrees, MBAs and PhD programmes.

The scholarships are being done in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, which would determine the qualification for the scholarships while the Public Service Ministry is responsible for selecting successful applicants.

Deputy Director of the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) with responsibility for student affairs, Mr. Ronald Singh, said the institution does not itself offer courses, but serves as an intermediary between the universities and the Guyana Government.

“What we do, we broker, we research and initiate discussions with universities, top ranking universities… We act as the go-between you, the student, and the institution. We broker deals. We negotiate reduced prices,” he said.

A section of the gathering

Mr. Singh said the five institutions which are the University of the West Indies (Barbados), the Indira Gandhi National Open University (India), the University of Applied Sciences (Germany), Jain University (India) and the University of the Southern Caribbean are all rated higher than the University of Guyana.

Mr. Singh also said GOAL intends to provide support to students once they have been given a scholarship, monitoring their performance and providing advice for student and academic affairs.

The Ministry plans to host other outreaches across the country to allow the public an opportunity to engage the Minister and her staff on the scholarships. [Extracted and modified from the Department of Public Information]

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