GOAL Scholarship Programme can help with poverty reduction

Dear Editor,
Minister Dr Ashni Singh noted that “Investment in education is the surest path to personal upliftment”. He made this emphatic pronouncement a few days ago when he “…urged residents of Albion and nearby communities to take full advantage of the 20,000 Online Scholarship Programme being offered by the Government.” I fully endorse this statement and I hope that the precious opportunities that are being offered will be fully grasped and appreciated by those eligible to do so. I have my good reasons for saying so.
A quick footnote on eligibility is worthy of mention here. The programmes are free and we all know that “university education,” at its cheapest is still expensive. So, no one is precluded in terms of affordability, and more so, there is no contract to sign for service after completion. Also, for the many who do not quite meet the ‘entrance qualifications,’ there are the pre-university courses that can be used to fill the gap and “come up” as we would say in education.
The big word here overall is that the Government is extremely caring about the less fortunate and those stuck in an educational hole.
My support for the programme adds to what the Minister detailed about “personal upliftment/fulfilment”. It goes to the area of poverty alleviation. The programme strikes at the heart of poverty reduction since no Government can “feed the hungry” interminably.
Studies abound where the link of “education (or lack thereof) and poverty” is inextricably formed. I recall an academic paper, “The role of education in poverty alleviation and economic development: A theoretical perspective and counselling implications.” By Omoniyi, MBI (PhD), from the Department of Guidance & Counselling Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko, making this telling point.
The gist of the paper is that poverty is a major threat to the very existence of humanity in modern times especially in the developing world. To combat this, the author argues that “Education in every sense is one of the fundamental factors of achieving sustainable economic development, through investment in human capital.” Overall, says the article, is that “Education fosters self-understanding, improves quality of lives and raises people’s productivity and creativity, thus promoting entrepreneurship and technological advances.” In addition, it goes on, is that “Education plays very crucial roles in securing economic and social progress thus improving income distribution which may consequently salvage the people from poverty.”
So, when the Minister and others here are pushing this programme, they are really combating poverty now, where it now exists, and in the future, where and when it is likely to surface.
I further explain that this offer to Guyanese is indeed vital. Why? Poverty and education are inextricably linked, because people living in poverty may stop going to school so they can work, which leaves them without literacy and numeracy skills they need to further their careers.
Research has shown repeatedly that with an additional year of schooling, income can increase by at least 10%. In fact, the paper mentioned that with just two more years of secondary schooling, millions of people worldwide can get out of poverty.
So as Guyana forges ahead in the 21st century, we need to remind ourselves that education plays a significant role in attaining a quality life individually, and so collectively the nation is the beneficiary. Kudos to the Dr Irfaan Ali-led PPP/C Government for this GOAL initiative.
Yours truly,
Alvin Hamilton