August 26, 2015 – (Georgetown, Guyana) As the 2015 batch of the Burnham Education Scholarship Trust, (B.E.S.T) awardees received their bursary today, they were urged to see education as an entitlement and to grasp at the opportunity to learn.
The charge was made by President David Granger as he addressed students, their parents, and well-wishers, who gathered at Congress Place, Sophia, during the simple ceremony. “We have committed ourselves to ensuring that every person who enters BEST as an awardee will build a relationship [with us]…we want you to remain [in the programme] every single year, to see you through your secondary school and hopefully, when finances and circumstance permit, to see you through university as well,” President Granger said.
The 12 awardees; Orel Emanuel (Region #1), Jahiem Roberts (Region #2), Latoya Woolford (Region #3), Reanna Mc Curchin, Gianni Carpenter and Shemar Bascom (Region #4), Eon Duncan (Region #5), Jahiem Hutson (Region #6), Akeem Williams (Region #7), Lori Ann Gildhari (Region #8), Kerri Ann Khan (Region #10) and Nkechi Layne (Region #10), were drawn from across the ten Administrative Regions of Guyana, after performing well at the National Grade Six Examinations, being awarded places at Queen’s College, President’s College, Bishops High School, St. Roses High, St. Stanislaus College, among others.
As the President congratulated the awardees on their achievement, he urged them not to see this as a victory but more as a beginning of greater things to come stating that an education is an investment for the future.
The awardees were told, that the bursary should not be seen as a “hand out” but as a “hand up” so that parents would have one less thing to worry about. Referring to his Government’s policy on education, the President said his government will work towards free education from nursery to university, as this is still one of the pillars of the Constitution of Guyana.  
“I believe in the marrow of my bones that education is an entitlement, and unless children have access to education, we will have in this country something called educational apartheid,” the President stated.
President Granger said his administration places a priority on education, as it is the Government’s vision to see every school-aged child in school. In an effort to make this possible, President Granger spoke of his administration’s plans to provide the basic needs including; text books, uniforms, meals, and transportation for school children in all the administrative regions.
He added that his administration will seek to bridge the educational gap between the rich and the less fortunate, as moves will be made to bring about equal opportunity within the education sector.
In closing, as the President wished the awardees well in the coming school year, he urged them to “avoid the pit falls of adolescence”, which include teenage pregnancy, which continues to be a growing problem.
On that note, the President said organisations, such as the BEST and others, should step and play a greater role in tackling the issue of teenage pregnancies in school and the growing number of school drop outs. Further, the Head of State took the opportunity to thank the many donors over the years who have played a role in keeping the scholarship programme alive.
The BEST Awards Programme was founded four years ago by President Granger and is a registered, non-governmental, non-profit sharing trust.

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