Georgetown, Guyana – (August 10, 2015) The Education Sector has been given a boost with the 2015 National Budget with an allocation of $33.8B for the development and improvement of the public education system and the quality of education delivery while Cultural institutions and the Arts have been given $233M to foster its cultivation in the Guyanese society.
Education and Jobs
During the Budget presentation, Minister Jordan said that the new Government will move beyond the platitude of proclaiming the centrality of education to tangibly ensuring that education indeed becomes both a means to, and an end, of our sustainable development.
“Education occupies a prominent role in the post-2015 development agenda, and at a national level we will work towards the realisation of a vision, where all of our citizens have equitable access to high quality education and learning opportunities, and where education is positioned as the key intermediary, through which we lay the foundation for a robust and competitive economy, as well as an inclusive and socially cohesive society,” he said.
He noted that an effective education system requires active collaboration among all sectors. To this end, he promised strengthened collaboration between the education, health and social protection agencies. This, he said, is vital for ensuring a holistic approach to early childhood development as well as the strengthening of linkages among education delivery, labour administration and the private sector agencies, to ensure that there is sensible, forward planning and seamless transitions between schooling and employment for youth.
With regard to inclusive and equitable access, Minister Jordan said that while Guyana has been able to expand the provision of education, and has seen an increase in net enrolment rates, there is a need for the determination of how successful the education sector has been in providing and expanding access to education for the most marginalised groups in the country.
He said that it was the government’s intention to ensure that the system does not perpetuate inequalities by differential levels of access to certain groups, based on their geographical location and ability to take advantage of educational opportunities.
As a start, the school uniform programme has been enhanced from $1500 to $2000 and the school feeding programme will be expanded with an emphasis on the hinterland locations. He said, “We will focus more on whether or not students attend school regularly, whether they complete schooling, and whether they successfully transition into higher levels of education or into the workplace”.
One Laptop Per Teacher (OLPT)
Nearly 10,000 computers that are underway from China will be distributed to teachers, educators and education officials, under a new, One Laptop Per Teacher (OLPT) programme. This, the Minister said, “…is a departure from the discredited and corrupted One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) programme of the past regime”.
With the effects of Climate Change on the rise, the Finance Minister said that emphasis will be placed on STEM education – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to ensure that students are exposed to these subjects and that they learn to apply them to the important challenges facing Guyana.
Culture and the Arts
Relating that Government has recognised the critical role of culture and the arts in reflecting the cultural mosaic of a nation; support for, and promotion of, local films and the literary community will continue, and it is expected that, in the medium term, these will serve to create jobs as the community evolves into an industry.
According to Minister Jordan, the preservation of heritage documentation, artifacts and old traditions; support for national festivals and the strengthening of the schools of dance, art, music, theatre arts and drama all constitute essential components of the focus of the new government.
“The $233 million allocated to support cultural institutions over the next four months includes an increased subvention to the Theatre Guild and for the digitisation of our artifacts,” Minister Jordan said.
Specific initiatives that will be pursued through to the year 2020 include the integration of heritage material and culture into the school curriculum with the certification of instructors and the expansion of mobile museum exhibitions in communities.
Pointing out that the role of youth in the national development process is critical to the long term survival of Guyana; Minister Jordan disclosed that a draft of the National Youth Policy 2015 has been completed.
The National Youth Policy 2015 aims to build a nation where our youth are safe and healthy, have equal access to opportunities, can participate in public life and are empowered to meaningfully contribute to Guyana’s sustainable development. Minister Jordan said, “This comprehensive document captures the Government’s vision for the youths of Guyana”. Once adopted, a National Youth Policy Action Plan will be crafted and implemented.
Additionally, upgrades to the facilities at the Sophia Training Centre will be undertaken while collaboration with the private sector to create job opportunities for the over 200 trainees will be fostered.