Georgetown, Guyana (October 26, 2018) President David Granger, yesterday afternoon, urged recipients of the seventh annual Burnham Education Scholarship Trust (BEST) awards to make good use of the educational opportunities available to them, particularly now as funding is available to support to the tertiary education level. Speaking to the recipients at the award ceremony, which was hosted in the Baridi Benab at State House, the President reminded that education is the gateway to ‘the good life’ and noted that through his “Boats, Buses and Bicycles plus Breakfast and Books (Five Bs’) Initiative” students all across the country can now capitalise on the opportunity to obtain a high standard of attainment.
“The whole idea is to create an educated nation; expose as many Guyanese as possible to the benefits of universal primary, secondary and tertiary education. We are living in a new millennium,” the President said.
President Granger also said that education must be progressive and intensive and that the onus is upon the nation to keep abreast with those changes and ensure that Guyanese children have better opportunities to attain and excel.
“Unless we get education right, we won’t get anything right in this country. BEST is just a small part of this wide field of education. Guyana has to catch up with the rest of the Caribbean and the world. We are not as far as we need to be at this stage of our development,” he said.
In congratulating the children on their hard work, the President told the recipients that far from being a one-year bursary, students can now receive support at the tertiary level.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the BEST Board of Trustees, Mr. Allan Munroe, said that the Board has accepted an offer made by Chairperson of the Peoples’ National Congress Reform (PNCR), Ms. Volda Lawrence to begin offering scholarships for four years from September 2018 to students pursuing studies at the University of Guyana.
“The office of the party’s chairperson has given us $1 million and will repeat this each year for four years. This will enable us to pay tuition fees for students in the faculties of Agriculture, Social Science and Medical Science at the UG or tuition fees for two persons at Guyana School of Agriculture,” he said. Mr. Munroe also said that each scholarship students will receive a $50,000 book voucher and will be required to give back 40 hours per year of service to young people.
BEST is a registered, non-profit, non-governmental organization established in 2012 to continue the educational work of Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham, founding leader of the People’s National Congress. It is managed by a Board of Trustees, which also includes members: Mrs. Yvonne Harewood-Benn, CCH; Ms. Lurlene Nestor, Mr. Lance Carberry, Mrs. Carol Corbin, Mr. Oscar Clarke, CCH; Mrs. Cheryl Sampson, Mr. Vincent Alexander and a representative of the Burnham family.
The Board selects potential awardees from each of the Ten Administrative Regions using the results of the National Grade Six Assessment as criteria. The awards are then presented in the form of book vouchers valued $30,000 per annum.
This sum may be augmented to include additional funds for transportation, meals and uniforms and is given solely at the discretion of the Board. Awards may also be granted on compassionate grounds, to children in difficult circumstances – these are continuous and renewable each succeeding year through the awardees’ enrolment into secondary school.
“Renewal is dependent on the end of term and annual performance reports received from the school from which the awardee is enrolled,” Mr. Munroe said. He noted too that the 2018 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate results from the 2013 intake of students were better this year than in the preceding two years. The best performance was achieved by Joshua Hinds, a former Queen’s College student who obtained 11 Grade One passes.