“This is your opportunity to get an education you don’t have to pay for” – PM
Prime Minister, Retired Brigadier Mark Phillips told residents of Diamond on the East Bank of Demerara that the Government’s 20,000 scholarships initiative is an opportunity for free education.
He said that 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 opportunities to come as the country goes through a transformative period of development. According to a Department of Public Information (DPI) report, he added that it was a step in the direction of 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,” the Prime Minister is quoted as saying.
“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 was what would 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,” Prime Minister Phillips said.
Meanwhile, Public Service Minister Sonia Parag, who accompanied the Prime Minister, told the residents gathered that the courses offered are not inferior ones, but are 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,” she noted.
GOAL Director, Professor Jacob Opadeyi, during his remarks, said that the only obligation scholarship awardees would have was performing 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,” Dr Opadeyi said.
He added that scholarship awardees were allowed to fail a course only once at no cost to them, after that they would have to pay to retake the examination.
Dr Opadeyi also encouraged persons to keep trying if they were not granted a scholarship in the first instance or if they could afford to pay for the courses themselves to do so. He said that some master’s degree programmes cost as low as US$1500, while some bachelor’s degrees cost 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 per cent discount, the University of the West Indies is giving us 45 per cent discount, the University of the Southern Caribbean is giving us 47 per cent 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 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.