Govt’s ICT investments set foundation for GOAL initiative – Dr Singh

The Government of Guyana has invested heavily in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector which enables Guyanese to take advantage of the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) initiative.
This was according to Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh at the graduation ceremony of over 1700 GOAL scholarship recipients at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) on Friday who stated that the students were able to complete their respective courses with little or no financial constraints.
The minister highlighted the various financial investments that the government has made which significantly assisted the graduates throughout their studies including the new Telecommunications Act.

Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh

“If one were to reflect on the comprehensiveness of this PPP/C Government Policy Agenda, you might think of GOAL as a great initiative, but one of the first things that the President did was to bring into law a new Telecommunications Act,”
He explained that the legislation immediately laid the foundation and set the stage for greater competition in the telecommunications sector thereby easing the financial burdens of students.
The minister added that as a result of this, fiber optic cables were laid across the country as far as Crabwood Creek and Linden and the Essequibo Coast. This he added made the internet more reliable and without a doubt, the students took full advantage.
In addition to faster internet connection on mobile and residential services, the government has also reduced the cost of bandwidth across the country and removed the value-added tax on data and mobile devices which was a burden for students.
“We removed the value-added tax on devices, including cellular phones, because we recognised that some persons may be accessing GOLA courses from their laptops, tablets, and even their cellular phones,” he revealed.

Education Minister Priya Manickchand and students at the graduation

“Careful thought and consideration went into ensuring that you can have access to these programs, to continue to access your classes, to continue to prepare and submit your assignments.” He reiterated that the government will continue to invest in human resources as they are the future leaders of this great nation.
Meanwhile, Education Minister, Priya Manickchand encouraged the graduates to ignore those who criticise the initiative and more so, those who attempted to distract the students from furthering their academic pursuits.
“The negative, naysayers, even they themselves researched how to get on the program, and they told you not to, you didn’t listen and you are triumphing today in your personal life because you believe that you must avail yourself of opportunities and we believe we must give you those opportunities.”
She also told the Graduands that they had escaped the hands of the naysayers successfully as if they had not completed the program they may not have benefited from the initiative.
“I hope you see how that noise, that distraction is harmful to you personally as others will grow and move on…we’re working very hard to bring to you the opportunities to lead better lives that will benefit the country as a whole.”
A total of 1712 students including young adults, single parents, mothers, and fathers have graduated from various courses that the PPP/C government launched upon taking office. To date, billions of dollars have been pumped into the initiative which targets 35,000 students within the first five years in office.