“This is your opportunity to get an education you don’t have to pay for” PM tells Diamond residents
Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, on Wednesday afternoon told residents of Diamond on the East Bank of Demerara, that the Government’s 20,000 scholarships initiative is an opportunity at free education.
He said the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL), was initiated to develop a highly-skilled and qualified population and to empower Guyanese to take advantage of the opportunities to come as the country goes through a transformative period of development. He added it is a step in the direction to free education from nursery to university, another promise his Government has endeavoured to achieve.
“This is your opportunity to get an education you don’t have to pay for… this signals the return of free education from nursery to university… all you have to do is take the opportunity and sign up, because as I mentioned, you have to be a part of the development of Guyana”.
WE HAVE TO EDUCATE OUR PEOPLE
In his feature remarks to residents at the Diamond Primary School, the senior Government official, added that an educated population is what will take Guyana from a mere developing country, to a more progressive and emerging economy.
“New roads, new house lots, new housing, are not enough. We have to educate our people, we have to provide the opportunities for people to educate themselves, because there will be a demand for labour, and not just unskilled and semi-skilled labour, but highly-skilled labour and we need to have a highly-skilled labour force in Guyana and we need Guyanese to grab at the opportunities to be a part of that labour force”.
Minister of Public Service, Honourable Sonia Parag, who accompanied the Prime Minister, told the residents gathered that the courses offered are not inferior ones, but are those from internationally recognised universities.
“These are all internationally recognised universities across the world and it is no fly-by-night programmes that you’re getting, because some require higher skills, but we have catered for everyone”.
Director of the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL), Professor Jacob Opadeyi during his remarks, said the only obligation scholarship awardees will have is to perform several hours of community service.
“You just have to give something back to the people, because you’re using the people’s money to do your training”.
He added that scholarship awardees are allowed to fail a course only once at no cost to them. After that they will have to pay to retake the examination.
Opadeyi also encouraged persons who can afford to pay for the courses themselves, to do so, or keep trying if they are not granted a scholarship in the first instance. He said some master’s programmes cost as low as US$1500, while some Bachelors are less than US$2000, as a result of the Government securing massive discounts from international universities.
“If you don’t get through and you can afford it, pay yourself… the University of Germany is giving us 85% discount, the University of the West Indies is giving us 45% discount, the University of the Southern Caribbean is giving us 47% discount, these are discounts that the Government have negotiated, and that discount applies to all Guyanese whether you get the scholarship or not”.
The Government of Guyana through GOAL, is offering over 100 courses at varying levels from six international universities, including the Indira Gandhi National Open University and the International University of Applied Sciences.
Also present at the GOAL scholarship launch in Diamond was Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Vickram Bharrat.