First-of-its-kind ‘Guyana Coders Initiative’ launched for 150,000 youth

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A Guyana Coders Initiative (GCI), deemed as the first-of-its-kind for the region, was on Wednesday launched, promising intense but globally-recognised skills training for at least 150,000 youth.

This initiative is being pursued in collaboration with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), stemming from a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) inked in March.

President Dr. Irfaan Ali, who launched the programme at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre at Liliendall, Georgetown, said that this initiative serves two key purposes.

Director General of the Office of the Prime Minister of the UAE Abdullah Lootah (Photo: News Room/ December 14, 2022)

First, it is geared at preparing Guyana’s youth for the technology-focused workforce; secondly, it is meant to help Guyana achieve its developmental goals in an accelerated manner.

Surrounded by pupils and students from dozens of schools, the President Ali said the pursuit of both goals will prepare the nation’s youth to herald in the country’s growth.

“We are starting way behind the race (but) we’re taking the big leap and we are going to fight at the front of the race and trying to make up all the lost time in eight years.

“…This step is about you, it is about you taking our country forward in 2030 and beyond. It is about ensuring that you are competitive, resilient and functional and ensuring that you have the tools that will take us forward,” the Head of State said.

Importantly, he also said the skills learnt will feed into other initiatives being pursued by the government. That includes the creation of remote medicine hubs (using telemedicine), creating more Information and Communication Technology (ICT) hubs and SMART classrooms for children and even the new city, Silica City.

To guarantee that Guyanese youth are able to meaningfully benefit from this programme, however, President Ali said private sector support is necessary.

As such, he urged members of the local private sector to open their offices after hours so that the youth in the programme can access their facilities. He also said that school labs will be fully utilised.

With an ongoing global technological revolution brimming with opportunities for these youth, President Ali said that Guyana is also intent on including youth from across the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

“Guyana is ready to be that hub to make this programme available to all our regional youth,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Education Priya Manickchand announced that the programme will be made available to youth all across the country. According to her, it introduces skills training that have never before been offered in Guyana.

Offering remarks also was the Director General of the Office of the Prime Minister of the UAE Abdullah Lootah, who explained that children will benefit from three years of training. They will receive certificates at the end of their training.

Skills to be garnered include programming and data science fundamentals. Youth who are part of the initiative will benefit from experienced mentors.

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