Georgetown, Guyana – (May 12, 2019) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, on Saturday said it is important that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Robotics to become a primary area of focus in the hinterland regions. The First Lady made these statements in her closing remarks at two workshops which were hosted at the Bina Hill Institute in Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region Nine) and at the Kurupukari Primary School in Potaro- Siparuni (Region Eight) respectively, aimed at introducing these subjects to the participants. A total of 91 students benefited from the training sessions.

Forty-one students from the Bina Hill Institute graduated from the ICT workshop, which was held in collaboration with Ministry of Social Protection’s Board of Industrial Training (BIT).

Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Mr. Sydney Allicock, in his address at the graduation, said he was impressed with the progress the students had made and encouraged them to continue to pursue learning opportunities in ICT.

“What is happening here is an irreversible movement, and you have to be dedicated. Commit yourselves; you have the opportunity, let us work together, the Ministry will continue to support [you]” he said.

Meanwhile, the First Lady, in partnership with STEM Guyana, the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development (Iwokrama) and ExxonMobil, hosted a STEM Robotics workshop for 50 students of the Kurupukari Primary School. At the close of the training, Mrs. Granger presented two Robotic kits to the school to nurture the students’ interest in this subject.

“We do not want our technology to be learnt only on the coastland; we want our Hinterland students, our rural children and young people to understand and be ready for the world of work in the 21st Century… If you’re doing agriculture, if you’re in any field, you are going to need skills in robotics,” the First Lady said.

Iwokrama, Director for Resource Management and Training, Dr. Raquel Thomas-Caesar encouraged the graduates from both sessions to think about how technology can be used in a practical way in their daily lives.

“It’s really about how … we merge these wonderful new skills that you are gaining, especially the technological skills, with the traditional skills… to help preserve, conserve and maintain a lot of the elements of your heritage that are very important … you can use Robotics and the scratch program that you learned about, to actually apply it to real life situations … [think about] how can you make a robot to help your mommy and daddy fetch the cassava from the farm,” she said.

The graduates expressed gratitude to the First Lady and her partners for bringing the workshop to their areas.

The Office of the First Lady has said that plans are also in train to conduct similar sessions in Mabaruma, Barima-Waini (Region One) and at Mahdia, Potaro- Siparuni (Region Eight).

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