Education and healthcare are two key areas of focus and through the collaboration between Guyana and India, thousands of persons have been able to benefit from various scholarship opportunities over the years.
In fact, as he pledged continued support towards the sectors, outgoing Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr KJ Srinivasa on Thursday said Guyana’s growth lies within these areas.
In an exclusive interview with the News Room on the eve of his departure, Dr Srinivas said his accomplishments include the successes borne over the years between the two countries, particularly as it relates to education.
Presently, he said some 50 to 60 per cent of Guyanese on scholarships are pursuing their studies at recognised Indian universities at little to no cost to the Government of Guyana.
Within his first year here, he outlined that over 4,560 students secured scholarships under the GOAL (Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) programme followed by another 4,300 in the second year.
“…Indian institutes…their degrees are well renowned, the degrees are recognized worldwide and the cost is extremely cheap,” Dr Srinivasa said.
GOAL is an initiative launched by the Government of Guyana to provide 20,000 online scholarships to Guyanese to pursue tertiary-level programmes via partnerships with reputable universities.
The programmes are offered through partnership with recognized universities across the world. Two of these institutions, the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and the Jain University are based in India.
“Education is something which nobody can take away from you…I believe that this will be one of the biggest efforts for the Government of Guyana and of course with assistance from the Government of India to build the technical capacity,” Dr Srinivasa noted.
Currently, there are a number of other scholarship programmes which are extended to Guyanese through the Government of India, some of which are fully sponsored.
These include the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme, the Know India Programme (KIP) and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) scholarships.
According to Dr Srinivasa, all of these programmes have seen an increase in the number of scholarships being granted to persons from diverse persons including officers of the Guyana Police Force (GPF), Guyana Defence Force (GDF) as well as both government and private sector agencies.
And as the collaboration deepens, Dr Srinivasa said the Indian educational institutes are looking to establish universities here.
“The Indian educational agencies tying with local education agencies will be a game changer,” he said.
Over the years, India has also contributed significantly to support the country’s health care.
The contributions include a US$17.5 million (GY$3.6 billion) Line of Credit which was allocated for the financing of hospitals at Suddie, West Demerara and Bartica.
And according to Dr Srinivasa, Guyana is posed to become the center for health care in the region.
“The health care and education, that’s something which I believe should be the way which Guyana growth should be seen,” Dr Srinivasa said.