Teachers, students wrap up inaugural artificial intelligence technology training


Catering to the need for innovation and technology expansion in Guyana, the Ministry of Education has collaborated with international partners to introduce students to Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology.

The collaboration is between the Ministry and The LEAD Mindset which provides leadership training, BCS Technology – an Information Technology consulting firm – and JASECI Labs which provided the tools.

Some 52 students from various secondary schools and the Government Technical Institute and Teacher Trainees from the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) participated in the programme.

This programme was launched back in March and went on for eight weeks with two tracks, one that focuses on developing the leadership and innovative mindset while on the other, participants will be exposed to the AI technical track.

Some of the students who participated in the programme  (DPI photo)

Participants were awarded with special prizes during the closing ceremony on Monday at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD), in Kingston.

Giving the keynote address, the Ministry’s Chief Education Officer (CEO) Dr Marcel Hutson lauded the participants for their interest in this programme.

“You are strategically positioned to be agents of change as we seek to prepare Guyana into a realm that is has never gone before.”

“We recognise and reward the talents of our Guyanese youth,” Dr Hutson said.

He said the initiative not only improved the skillset of local Guyanese but also those in the diaspora by giving them a chance to give back to society.

Chief Education Officer (CEO) Dr Marcel Hutson

“The extensive nature of the participatory effort is a reflection of inclusivity in all we do at the Ministry of Education. This initiative provided participants across various institutions with the opportunity to improve their communication skills, build their confidence recognise their innate leadership potential to utilize the stem skills to their developmental advantage,” the CEO said.

Meanwhile, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the LEAD mindset Dennise Hilliman said, “Most people accept that innovation is important. We all know the world is changing and its changing fast, technology is greatly accelerating those changes but there is a widening skills gap between users of technology and creators of technology.”

The founder and CEO of the LEAD mindset, Dennise Hilliman (DPI photo)

Hence, there are many efforts to bridge the gap and such activities include hackathons. But even then, Guyana has not been a major participant in innovation and technology activities. For this reason, the SPARK showcase programme was created to provide the learners with the tools and to move their ideas from thoughts into creations.

“We decided when you pursue excellence you start with meaning because your goal is how to impact people and to add value to others to address needs, so when we collaborated with the Ministry of Education… we agreed on three objectives, to equip young people with skills to leverage technology to spark innovation and economic opportunities, to equip young people with the leadership mindset (LEAD mindset) to think outside the box and dream big and catalyse the region economically by capturing and scaling locally sourced innovative ideas globally,”

“Technology isn’t just for the people in the labs, technology is for everyone because we all have a responsibility to develop ideas and technologies to address the everyday challenges that we face,”

She importantly noted that Guyana’s participation in innovation and technology competitions is extremely low. It is her hope that after this programme takes off more persons who are trained will become participants in innovation internationally.   “We don’t have the confidence sometimes hopefully we will move up on the ranking, the world ranking,” she said.

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