Residents of Mibicuri and Yakusari in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) began their application process on Monday to pursue one of the many programmes offered under the 20,000 Scholarships Programme.
The First Lady, Mrs Arya Ali; the Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand and Minister of Public, Service Sonia Parag, were at the Black Bush Polder Secondary School and the Yakusari Primary School for community outreaches on the scholarship programme.
This Government of Guyana initiative is being executed by the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) which was established by the Ministry of Education, which has the responsibility of managing the academic and technical aspects of the program while the Public Service Ministry will award the scholarships to eligible Guyanese.
During Monday’s visit to the two communities, Minister Manickchand told residents that through this initiative, “lives will change”. She said that her government has committed to taking services to communities that will change the lives of all Guyanese regardless of ethnicity, geographical location, socio-economic status or political persuasion.
She said that after assuming office in August 2020, there has been active communication with several countries through diplomats, Ministries of Education and Universities to provide programs that Guyanese can pursue online.
She said that the programmes being offered by the five universities that have thus far been engaged will come at no cost to Guyanese and will be funded using the state’s resources to prioritize education. Minister Manickchand advised that if persons do not qualify for any of the courses, there is an upgrading course being offered that will allow persons to qualify for other courses after completion.
Minister Manickchand said that GOAL is going to be in existence for at least the next five years and the Government of Guyana will deliver more than 20,000 scholarships in that period.
Further, she said that the GOAL initiative was designed cognizant of the challenges regarding internet access and noted that these programs will require minimum internet and the lack of same should not be a deterrent as arrangements are being made to have successful applicants access material and complete their work.
On that note, the Education Minister said that before the end of next week, an assessment will be done in the Polders to determine how internet access can be provided so that all services online can be accessed.
She added that the communities were chosen for such activity because the First Lady believes that communities that do not benefit from such programmes should be given the opportunity.
While at the two schools, the First Lady engaged residents on various issues to know how best they can be assisted.
Meanwhile, Minister Parag told residents to, “grab this opportunity.” With education being a priority for the government, she said that they must provide pathways to educational advancement to Guyanese. She said that awardees of scholarships will not be bound by any contractual obligations upon completion of their respective programmes.
The Public Service Minister said that rather, awardees will be asked to perform forms of community service. She explained that her Ministry will determine who is awarded a scholarship while the Ministry of Education will facilitate the application and acceptance of interested persons into the various programmes.
The five universities that have come on board so far with GOAL to offer online programmes 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. Persons can apply by visiting: www.goal.edu.gy. (Modified press release from Ministry of Education)