In keeping with the manifesto promise of delivering 20,000 scholarships within the first term in office, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government has opened the application process for persons to apply in a number of disciplines.
The Education Ministry in collaboration with the Public Service Ministry announced that applications will now be accepted for the awarding of these scholarships.
The Ministry of Education is working on operationalising the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL), which will house this programme, within the first half of 2021. This programme is for Guyanese across all communities in every region and will be made accessible accordingly.
The Education Ministry has the responsibility of managing the academic and technical aspects of the programme while the Public Service Ministry will award the scholarships. Presently, they vary from diplomas, undergraduate and graduate degrees from several universities.
Since taking office in August 2020, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration had issued over 445 scholarships for both local and international studies as of February, totalling more than $80 million.
Public Service Minister Sonia Parag had informed the National Assembly that a total of 39 scholarships were awarded locally, amounting to some $16.1 million. This includes some 34 scholarships to the University of Guyana (UG) to the tune of $13.2 million.
Three scholarships were also granted for the Guyana School of Agriculture totalling some $855,000. Additionally, one scholarship each was issued to Art Williams and Harry Wendt Aeronautical School and Texila American University to the tune of $880,000 and $1,100,000 respectively.
The Minister pointed out that in excess of $67 million in scholarships was issued for studies overseas. Of these 35 scholarships, seven were study leave with pay while two were donor-funded.
President Dr Irfaan Ali has promised to grant 20,000 scholarships to Guyanese over the next four years. In fact, in the 2020 Emergency Budget, the PPP/C Government had earmarked over $1 billion for the award of scholarships for both local and overseas studies, as well as training of public servants.
At a press conference last August, mere weeks after assuming office, Minister Parag had disclosed that the system for vetting scholarships was heavily flawed under the David Granger-led regime.
“What I have found is that the system that we have for vetting scholarships is heavily flawed. That is what I have personally observed, and that is something that I plan to review and change. If I may say, it is skewed to one demographic and geographic in Guyana. That has been going on for the last five years,” the Public Service Minister had revealed during a virtual press conference.
For persons who had applied before and were denied, or those who were facing other difficulties, the Minister said such will be looked at on a case-by-case basis. The entire system will be reviewed to ensure that these services benefit all stakeholders.