Young writers’ programme aims to promote creativity

– and revive publishing industry

Teachers, along with students between the ages of 13 and 19, were the target of a Youth Empowerment Programme for Youth Writers aimed at revitalising Guyana’s publishing and writing industry.
The programme is being rolled out by the Office of the Presidential Advisor on Youth Empowerment in collaboration with the Education Ministry.
Programme Director Alisha Layne said more than 260 students have benefited from the programme. The schools which participated in the programme included 15 schools from Georgetown, nine from East Coast Demerara, six from East Bank Demerara, and 12 from West Coast Demerara.
Layne noted that the students and teachers were taught the art of writing and producing magazine articles. The response from teachers and, more importantly, the students were positive, especially from students of rural schools, according to Layne.
“The feedback all around have been generally good, so we are proud of the work that we would have done and we really hope that we can actually complete it in the way that we would want it to be completed, so that these students could have an opportunity upon leaving school to have something to do, (which is) geared towards developing themselves, their communities and each other,” Layne explained.

Programme Director Alisha Layne 

She added, “You have students who are not, I would not want to say very smart but we have those students who academically they do not excel, but artistically they are very, very gifted. There are students who cannot do a math sum to save their life; there are students who cannot understand a simple equation, but if you give them a pen and a piece of paper, they can write a piece of poetry, they can create a masterpiece in English and so this project basically is one that the teachers welcome because they can use it to channel those ability in those students.”
However, Layne noted that they were faced with a number of challenges during the course of the programme. One of the main challenges, according to her, was having teachers and students being released to attend training sessions during school hours.  To address the problem, Layne explained that they were seeking to have the Education Ministry adopt the programme so that it would become a timetabled subject.
Layne explained that “the school term is basically 12 weeks; we can have a successful programme run in eight weeks because the actual contact hours for the training, it takes just about one teaching period and so if we can have it for one period, which is just about 45 minutes of school time; if we can have this done in schools at the individual level for one period per day, maybe  two days per week in each school, then at the end of six  weeks we would have completed the entire young writers manual, so that gives them two weeks to complete their articles.”
While the current programme targets mainly schools on the coast, the overall aim is to have it in all the schools countrywide, as it is also a programme which is geared at equipping young people with a skill which they can use to create jobs for themselves. The programme was launched in November 2016. (GINA)