$220M state-of-the-art Ken Subraj-Zara Technical Centre commissioned at GTI
The state-of-the-art $220 million Ken Subraj-Zara Technical Centre at the Government Technical Institute (GTI), Woolford Avenue, Georgetown aims to enhance the delivery of technical education to many students.
The building was officially commissioned on Friday.
The project is part of a public-private cooperation between the Ken Subraj Foundation, a former GTI student, and the Ministry of Education.
Among the amenities in the three-storied edifice are an administrative block, elevator, lecture halls, multipurpose classrooms, a welfare unit, and an oil and gas laboratory.
This is consistent with the government’s goal of delivering technical and vocational skills training throughout the country.
Given Guyana’s transformational development landscape, the government understands how critical it is to modernise the delivery of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), to provide Guyanese with the skills they need to take advantage of available opportunities.
During remarks, His Excellency, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali underscored the substantial public-private partnership on the development of the building.
“So, what we are doing, here, today, and what Mr Ken would have contributed to, is not just the building of a building…This building goes far beyond the physical… It is what the structure has the potential to create and transform. It is the value added that will come as a result of the structure. It is that opportunity creation that the building can capitalise through what will be done inside of the building and that is where the value proposition goes up,” President Ali underlined.
He highlighted that more Guyanese need to capitalise on technological training, especially in areas like robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), which are cutting edge professions.
The head of state emphasised that digitisation can be a key component of the technical institution, as Guyana continues to strategise for a future beyond 2030.
Dr. Ali urged the instructors and the institution’s administration to consider audiences beyond the immediate community, “because part of our prosperity, I always say, must be regional prosperity. And we must also be able to contribute to the development of the regional skillset.”
He outlined the expansion of various transformative educational initiatives, which will guarantee that Guyana has an adequate number of faculty members and institutional capacity to support the development and creation of skills that will propel the country.
“Now you have a lot of technical capacity and capability. But what if the part time lecturers can come together and put their heads together and come up with a programme and a project to digitise all the records of the technical institute? Just like we did for the justice programme. We gave a special allowance for that programme, where we had to clear up the backlog of cases. What about innovative thinking?” he questioned.
Dr. Ali praised the Zara Foundation family for their long history of providing for and supporting numerous notable programmes and their partnerships, while noting that his administration is eager to have them join in Guyana’s development.
“Giving back is not accidental, planned or programmed. It is part of a philosophy, principle, and value…This building is just an addition to the tremendous work they have been doing. This example that you set, here, is one that many big corporations can take a page out of.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand underlined that the building’s investment is timely as it will significantly impact the lives of many students.
“This was timely not only for what it will do for each individual student, but to complement the country’s thrust towards making every person aware and making skills and TVET training accessible to people,” she stated.
President of Zara, Ken Subraj urged everyone to make the most of the new facility.
GTI’s Principal, Dr Renita Crandon-Duncan highlighted that the completion of the new building is a vision achieved, as GTI continues to be the leading technical institute in Guyana to provide training to Guyanese.
In Guyana’s booming oil and gas economy, the engineering, mechanical, electrical, civil, science and land surveying programmes are the most lucrative programmes, seeing thousands of applicants each year, she emphasised.
Chief Education Officer, Saddam Hussein, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Shannielle Hoosein-Outar, Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Paloma Mohamed-Martin, Project Manager, Richard Mahase, Executive Vice President of Zara, Dr Jairaj Sobhraj, members of the Ken Subraj Foundation, and other officials were also in attendance.